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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Kenai AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. 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 important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Kenai AK physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college 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 colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, 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 Kenai AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In each 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 vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Kenai AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Kenai health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Kenai AK home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college 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 Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Kenai AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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