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What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Litchfield Park AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Litchfield Park AZ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction 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 Litchfield Park AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Litchfield Park AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Litchfield Park health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Litchfield Park AZ home. Those who have chosen 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Litchfield Park AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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