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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Pinson AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Pinson AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Pinson AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Pinson AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Pinson medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Pinson AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pinson AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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