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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Anchorage AK area and across Alaska, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the college that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Anchorage AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Anchorage AK area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large 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 program you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. 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 college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only 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 an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Anchorage healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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