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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Globe AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is right 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 all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received 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 enroll in an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Globe AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Globe AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Globe AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Globe health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Globe 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Globe AZ 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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