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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Meridianville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Meridianville AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with 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 Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to displeasure 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 Meridianville AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study 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 program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Meridianville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Meridianville medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Meridianville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meridianville AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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