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What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Tuskegee AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have received 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 important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Tuskegee AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Tuskegee AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care 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 Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although 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 tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Tuskegee AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Tuskegee medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Tuskegee AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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 Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuskegee AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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