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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Green Valley AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program 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. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Green Valley AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program 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 colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 Green Valley AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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 college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Green Valley AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Green Valley health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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