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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Pell City AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Pell City AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Pell City AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Pell City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Pell City healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several 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 therapist college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Pell City AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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