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What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Irondale AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Irondale AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer 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 submitted against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Irondale 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 excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Irondale AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Irondale health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk 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 therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Irondale AL residence. Students who have decided 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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