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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Sterling AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Sterling AK physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Sterling AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

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

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Sterling AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Sterling health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Sterling AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

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

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sterling AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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