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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Lincoln AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Lincoln AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Lincoln AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Lincoln AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Lincoln medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Lincoln AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lincoln AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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