Students who wish to pursue their career in physical therapy are often bombarded with the different choices for DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) programs by several schools. Amid these massive options, it can be quite difficult for parents and students to determine which school suits them best.
To make things simpler, you can look at a few factors and determine the best fit for your child. Here’s a list of these main factors that you should consider when choosing a physical therapy school for your child.
Check Out the Infrastructure
A good infrastructure in a school is vital, as it signifies how the next few years of learning will go for your child. It’s not that difficult to get a potential visit to any school, either. In fact, many schools have programs where interested candidates can visit the campus and view how the interior of the school is.
In essence, you want to take note of three things: the classroom sizes, type of technology (new or old), and the resources available. If you’ve only taken a look at the school’s website so far, paying a visit won’t hurt – plus you can also jot down any questions you may have which weren’t answered on the site.
Consider the Distance
Commuting to large-distanced schools can quickly become a nightmare. Even the slightest bit of interruption along the way can cause your child to be late. Apart from the energy and time it consumes, students who enroll in schools out of their state pay far more than those who apply for local schools.
Studying in a local school, though, gives students better freedom and flexibility to work a part-time job if they want to and return home quickly. If you live in the U.S., it will be helpful to know that out of the 50 states, 46 have a physical therapy school.
Look for a 3+3 Program
When it comes to completing schooling for students who have yet to begin their prerequisite courses for physical therapy school, a 3+3 program is usually the least expensive and efficient alternative.
The standard PT programs require four years to earn a bachelor’s degree and an additional three years of continued education in a DPT program, which is seven years of schooling in all. In the 3+3 program, you will be able to receive both a bachelor’s and a physical therapy degree in just six years.
The 3+3 program is ideal for students who are confident of pursuing their career in physical therapy, as students need to apply for the program within their first year of the school itself. After being accepted into the program, the student will have to maintain the minimum GPA required by the college.
Education and Opportunities
The teaching styles and the opportunities offered at the school are yet two more vital factors to look at. Ask yourself, are the teachers motivated enough to teach and answer every student’s questions? Is the classroom filled with many students where the teachers can’t meet everyone after class for further explanations? Does the school offer a good career opportunity (i.e., a part/full-time role or internship at a reputed company or institution)?
You can even check if the university offers standard teaching or problem-based learning. If you haven’t heard of either one, standard teaching is how we’ve all been taught in life. It’s the familiar combination of a teacher, a chalk or a marker, and a board. Problem-based learning groups students into small pieces who are asked to solve a situation that may occur in a clinic.
Academic guidance is essential, especially when transitioning from school and deciding your further courses. Once you have found a suitable P.T. program, consulting with academic advisors will help you in decision-making and understanding the curriculum. The advisors will guide you through the following:
- Application process
- Academic procedures and policy
- Acceptance rates
- Additional information about the school (housing and meal requirements)
- General information about the campus, such as transportation support
Stay Loyal to Your Budget
Last but not least, never go beyond your budget. Parents often go overboard and get into heavy debts, which their children need to pay off later. This is a real and serious issue which we do not pay enough attention to in our daily lives. Always ensure that the school you’ve decided on is well within your budget. You can also talk to your advisor about and find the best local college.
Overall, physical therapy schools have a lot to offer to ambitious students. Some may stand apart as better than others, making it somewhat difficult to narrow down which one is the best for your child. When you take a few considerations in mind, though – such as the distance away and your overall budget – you can help ensure your child receives the best education possible, no matter what!