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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy 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 considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Millbrook AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into 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 organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Millbrook AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Millbrook AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in provides 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Millbrook AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Millbrook health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Millbrook AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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