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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Valley AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received 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 choose an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Valley AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice 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 schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Valley 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 exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Valley AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Valley healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at 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 a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Valley AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Valley AL area, make certain that they are available. 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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