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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the kind 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 so many PT colleges within the Meadowbrook AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received 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 college, 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 just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Meadowbrook AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It might 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 schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might 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 placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Meadowbrook AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. 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 vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Meadowbrook AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Meadowbrook health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely 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 student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Meadowbrook AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meadowbrook AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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