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What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Jasper AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well in order 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 compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program's reputation, beginning 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 also. Call several Jasper AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Jasper AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Jasper AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Jasper medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Jasper AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, make sure 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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