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What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Saks 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 pick the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school'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 organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Saks AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program 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 schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Saks AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. 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 PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Saks AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Saks medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Saks AL home. Those 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saks AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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