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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Fairbanks AK area and across Alaska, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Fairbanks AK physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. 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 colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Fairbanks AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have associations with Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fairbanks medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

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

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might 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 live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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