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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Rainbow City AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Rainbow City AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Rainbow City AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Rainbow City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Rainbow City healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Rainbow City AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide 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 College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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