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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Tuscumbia AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Tuscumbia AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations 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 schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Tuscumbia AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Tuscumbia AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only 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 graduates and students develop professional connections in the Tuscumbia medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Tuscumbia 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 area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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