PT Schools - How To Choose The Right One

Choosing the right physical therapy (PT) school can be a very confusing decision. There are 210 accredited PT programs across America so how do you know which one is right for you? The following article will give you 10 things to think about to make it a bit clearer.

There are several different factors you need to consider when choosing the right PT school. Everyone is different and has different personalities and priorities so in the end it is where you think you would enjoy the experience the most. Some things to think about are as follows:

1. Accreditation?: Firstly you need to make sure the PT program you're looking at is accredited by CAPTE. If it's not then you will not be able to practise as a physical therapist and all your hard work will be for nothing.

2. What degree should you complete?: Currently there is a choice between a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) and a Doctor of physical Therapy (DPT). The American Physical Therapy Association is pushing for all PT programs to be DPT by 2020 so it would make sense to enrol in a school that offered the doctorate program.

3. Is the PT school respected? There is no official Physical therapy school ranking and you won't be any less employable depending on which school you attend. If a school is respected however, you may benefit from better internship opportunities and more qualified teaching staff.

4. How much will it cost?: Obviously this is a major deciding factor in what PT school you attend. Don't think that the more it costs the better the program because it's not the case. Prices vary greatly between schools but you are looking anywhere between $25 000 and $50 000 a year. At the end of the day you have to pass the same NPTE as everyone else.

5. Physical therapy prerequisites?: Make sure you check with the PT school you intend on applying to that you have met all their prerequisites. They all differ so contact each school directly. If you haven't met the requirements you will not qualify for enrollment.

6. Where is the campus located?: This is important if you plan on moving away from home and study interstate. Studying interstate will increase the fees considerably more and many students become home sick and this can impact on your overall college experience. Also think about whether the location suits your life style.

7. What is the campus like?: Investigate campus facilities and extracurricular activities they offer that might interest you. It would be a good idea to visit the campus to get a better feel for its atmosphere.

8. What is the structure of the program like?: The curriculum and structure of all programs are different. Some spread out the clinical placements throughout the year and others do it all at the end of the course. This might cause you problems if you need to support a family for example. Smaller class sizes and a higher faculty to student ratio tends to be beneficial for improved learning.

9. What are the facilities like? - have a look at what extracurricular activities the university offers and what facilities are available. This will determine if it suits your lifestyle. More specific to your studies, new equipment and new facilities will put you in the best position to be at the forefront of the profession.

10. Course duration: generally the courses are all about the same in duration but some offer accelerated undergraduate programs.

So think carefully about your decision and just remember that you should choose a PT school that suits your lifestyle. University is not just about studying to get your qualification but creating one of the best experiences of your life.