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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Catalina AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering 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 choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning 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 as well. Call a few Catalina AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Catalina AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms 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 college you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Catalina AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Catalina medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Catalina AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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