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What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Moody AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Moody AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Moody AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Moody AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Moody health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Moody AL home. Students who have decided 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.

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

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Moody 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 credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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