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What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Fort Payne AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 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 enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Fort Payne AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate 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 assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Fort Payne AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional 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 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 completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Fort Payne AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Fort Payne health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Fort Payne AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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