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What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like 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 considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Badger AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Badger AK physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Badger AK area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Badger AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Badger medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Badger AK home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 college that is out of state or perhaps 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

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

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Badger AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

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