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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Florence AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, 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 can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Florence AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to check with 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 Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Florence AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Florence AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Florence healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Florence AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 importance. 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 due to work, illness or family obligations.

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