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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Lakes AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 choose an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Lakes AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Lakes AK area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports 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 therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Lakes AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Lakes health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Lakes AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

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

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lakes AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

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