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What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Prichard AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Prichard AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact 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 Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Prichard AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Prichard AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Prichard medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. 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 provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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