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Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Ketchikan AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Ketchikan AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Ketchikan AK area? If a program has a higher 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 college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon 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 satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Ketchikan AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Ketchikan health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist 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 Ketchikan AK residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ketchikan AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

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