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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Satsuma AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Satsuma AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations 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 filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Satsuma 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 exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in provides both excellent 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Satsuma AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Satsuma health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives 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 need to be within driving distance of their Satsuma AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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