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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Eagle River AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for 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 several Eagle River AK physical therapy centers or other medical care 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 Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction 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 Eagle River AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Eagle River AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Eagle River health care community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer 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 therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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