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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Gadsden AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Gadsden AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Gadsden AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Gadsden health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives 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 driving distance of their Gadsden AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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