2 answers

Is it true that having an athletic training certificate while pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy significantly increases my likelihood at being accepted into graduate school and, later, being hired for a job?

Asked Palm Desert, California

I want to work as a pediatric physical therapist in a hospital with kids fighting potentially terminal illnesses. I was told that double majoring in athletic training and kinesiology on the pre-physical therapy track would strengthen my applications, both for graduate school and my future career. This is something I am interested in, but it is very time consuming and might be very difficult to accomplish in just four years. Does the double major significantly increase the likelihood I will be accepted into graduate school? Is this something I should pursue? #graduate-school #physical-therapy #double-major #athletic-training

2 answers

Carrie’s Answer

Updated Indian Trail, North Carolina

Colleen Hughes is right, simply being a certified athletic trainer does not guarantee acceptance into a physical therapy program. While all graduate programs are seeking candidates with diverse experiences, they definitely look for demonstrated potential for academic success (grades), and a commitment to the profession/ field (essay) you are applying. However, consider that in order to be eligible to take the athletic training board of certification exam requires successful completion of an approved entry-level athletic training program. This coursework, requires students have diverse healthcare related experiences. Similarly, passing the certification exam will provide you an opportunity to gain additional experience as a healthcare professional. In the end, it is your successful completion of these diverse healthcare experiences that add to the richness of your application. So, becoming an ATC may not guarantee acceptance, it should not hurt your chances.

Thank you for your help!

Colleen’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

Absolutely not! Your undergraduate degree is going to strengthen the type of therapist you become. Grades tend to be the trend for acceptance to most programs- but honestly, I think they look for diversity. My class had a film major and a psychology major. Most schools don't want all of the same type of student. Use your undergraduate as an opportunity to find what you are interested in and excel at it!

Thank you so much for your help!
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