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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Marana AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Marana AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It might 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Marana 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 outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative 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 practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Marana 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 most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Marana healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Marana AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 emergencies.

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