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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary 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 spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Florence AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school's reputation, beginning 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 as well. Contact a few Florence AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, 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 Florence AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Florence AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Florence medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse 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 number of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Florence AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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