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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Tuscaloosa AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Tuscaloosa 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 a good idea to contact 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 Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Tuscaloosa AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you select furnishes both exceptional 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 differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Tuscaloosa health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might have 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 don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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