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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type 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 since there are numerous PT schools within the Sheffield AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Sheffield AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent 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 School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Sheffield AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have relationships with Sheffield AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Sheffield health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Sheffield AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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