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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Foley AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. 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 can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Foley AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Foley AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. 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 program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Foley AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Foley medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Foley AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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