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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Madison AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Madison AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Madison AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Madison AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Madison healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized 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 monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Madison AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School 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 essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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