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What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Troy AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Troy AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Troy AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have relationships with Troy AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Troy medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Troy AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, make certain 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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