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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Sitka AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools 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 choose an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated 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 important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Sitka AK physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of 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 Sitka AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. 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 Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Sitka AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Sitka medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Sitka AK home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

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