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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Smiths Station AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning 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 agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Smiths Station AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out 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 assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Smiths Station AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Smiths Station AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Smiths Station health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing 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 final 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 Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Smiths Station AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Smiths Station AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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