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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Selma AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Selma AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Selma AL area? If a program has a high 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 program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Selma AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Selma health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Selma AL residence. Students who have decided 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. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

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