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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like 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 Phenix City AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn 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, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Phenix City AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left 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 school's job placement program, particularly in the Phenix City AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Phenix City health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Phenix City AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have 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 emergencies.

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