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What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Knik Fairview AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Knik Fairview AK physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may 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 colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Knik Fairview AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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 therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Knik Fairview AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Knik Fairview medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Knik Fairview AK home. Students who have chosen 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Knik Fairview AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

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