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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the New River AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the school that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, 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 college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few New River AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the New River AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent 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 program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with New River AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get 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 students and graduates establish professional relationships in the New River medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance 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 a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their New River AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.

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