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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Russellville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, 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 may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Russellville AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Russellville AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports 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. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have relationships with Russellville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Russellville medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several 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 therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Russellville AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Russellville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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