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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Montgomery AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as 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 pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Montgomery AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program 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 School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Montgomery AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community 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 Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have associations with Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical 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 develop professional connections in the Montgomery health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average 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 students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Montgomery AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online 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 choose to enroll in a college 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, confirm 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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