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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Prattville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. 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 may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Prattville AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Prattville AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Prattville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Prattville healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few 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 school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Prattville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, confirm 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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