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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Gateway AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring 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 Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Gateway 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 recommendations about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Gateway AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both superior 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Gateway AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Gateway medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Gateway AK home. Those who have opted 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need 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 don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gateway AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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