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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Meadow Lakes AK area and across Alaska, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the program that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Meadow Lakes 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 advice about your school options. It might also be prudent 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 Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Meadow Lakes AK area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Meadow Lakes AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Meadow Lakes healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

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

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Meadow Lakes AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may 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 don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Meadow Lakes AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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