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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Opelika AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick 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 thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Opelika AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It might also be a good idea 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 School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Opelika AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Opelika AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Opelika healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Opelika AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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