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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Homewood AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is best for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Homewood AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may 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 School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure 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 school's job placement program, particularly in the Homewood AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Homewood AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Homewood medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Homewood AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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