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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Maricopa AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select 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 can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Maricopa AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Maricopa 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 confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Maricopa AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Maricopa healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Maricopa AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might 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, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

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