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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Juneau AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have received 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Juneau AK physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Juneau AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select furnishes both superior 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Juneau AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Juneau medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Juneau AK home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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