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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Fountain Hills AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in 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 colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Fountain Hills AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fountain Hills AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have associations with Fountain Hills AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fountain Hills healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Fountain Hills AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps 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 live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, make sure 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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