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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Hoover AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Hoover AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Hoover AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Hoover AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Hoover healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? 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 prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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