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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want 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 schools within the Orange Beach AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 select an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college'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 agencies for their reviews also. Call several Orange Beach AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. 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 submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest 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 hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Orange Beach AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in furnishes 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have associations with Orange Beach AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Orange Beach health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Orange Beach AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, check 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

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