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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Northport AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Northport AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Northport AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Northport AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Northport healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical 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 talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Northport AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining 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 school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

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