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What are the worst and best things about being a physical therpist?

I have always wanted to be in the medical field but I'm squeamish. #physical-therapy
# exercise physiologist

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Ryan’s Answer

While the other answers on this page are technically true, they don’t accurately emphasize the HIGH debt to income ratio involved with becoming a PT. New grads commonly come out of 7 years of school with a DPT and >150k of student debt. The salary does NOT stack up to this level of debt. PT is a great and rewarding career if you are able to get by without student loans. Otherwise a career like nursing will be much more lucrative in the long term, as an undergraduate degree option with a fairly similar salary range.

Thanks! I appreciate it. Maria E.

Very true and not something commonly talked about, thanks for sharing! Ashlee R.

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Maryann’s Answer

The best things about being a physical therapist is that every day is different. Patients with different needs and you are able to develop a unique plan of care to each one of them. It's very rewarding to see that patients get better and are able to go back to be functional and as independent as possible.
You can work in many different types of environments like offices, hospitals, schools corporation and at their home.
You can treat patients, you can supervise other PT's, you can teach and mentor.
I don't really see nothing negative about this profession.

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Dolly’s Answer

David and Teresa covered most of the pro's and cons very well. One attraction for me to become a physical therapist was that I could continue to learn and grow in my work. We are required to complete 30 hrs of continuing education every 2 yrs (which can be taken as online courses or you can go to a hands on seminar) so you can keep up with the latest and greatest techniques or review areas that may be rusty in. I also like the fact that you can choose to work in a variety of disciplines and settings..pediatric, geriatric, orthopedic outpatient clinics, hospitals..the lost goes on! After gaining experience, you can also move into a utilization reviewer position and there are medical device and pharmaceutical companies who often are interested in hiring PT's for their medical background in sales or technical positions.
The downside is that it can be a costly road in education and time..but I have never regretted it and after 20 yrs, still love my work and am fulfilled every day by the opportunity to help others.
Go for it!

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Teresa’s Answer

One of the biggest "set-backs" is the length of time it takes to become a physical therapist. Many years of schooling are required and it can be a big expense. You will also have to deal with people and those in pain may be a little difficult at times. Each patient will require a different treatment plan.

One of the best things is being able to help people! Also, you may have flexible hours and likely pretty good pay .....but you may have to spend years paying back your education loans....but, don't let that hold you back.

Teresa recommends the following next steps:

Call a local physical therapist (or two) -- tell them you are thinking about becoming a PT - ask them what they like and dislike the most.

Thank you! Maria E.

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David’s Answer

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a physical therapist that you may take into consideration about the field. My standpoint is in between because I don't want to mislead you with my standpoint. You see what you think.

Advantages of being a physical therapist:

1. A good salary - Being a physical therapist is one of the jobs that come with a good salary. The annual salary of a physical therapist starting is $60k to $85K.

2. Increase in job opportunities - By choosing to be a physical therapist you are assured of getting a secure job. There has been a growing demand for physical therapists. More numbers are needed as there has been an increase of patients who need physiotherapy because of diseases that affect mobility such as diabetes.

3. Variety of places where one can work - A physical therapist can work anywhere between hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, schools, fitness centers or nursing homes. It does not limit people to work at one setting.

4. Gain knowledge on science and health - A physical therapist is one of the most educated people. They have vast knowledge on health, how the human body moves and functions and science among many others. That knowledge is very beneficial not only to the clients but also to the physical therapist.

5. You can start your own practice - People who have studied physical therapy can opt to start their own practice if they have capital. They do not necessarily have to be employed by under someone else or an institution. A large number of physical therapist has been able to run their own practices successfully.

Disadvantages of being a physical therapist:

1. Long time in school - People who decide to take studies in this field usually take a long time in school. Whereas the average undergraduate school can take between 3 to 4 years, additional studies are required. After completing the undergraduate degree, one might have to spend time at a physical therapy school so that they can become professionals.

2. Being a physical therapy is demanding - The job is very demanding on both your time and physical capabilities. One will have to stay fit so that they comfortably go about the duties of this job. For that reason, one will have to ensure that they are getting enough rest and are maintaining a balanced diet.

3. Renewal of license - As stated above, for one to practice, they need have obtained a license that allows them to. However, this license has to be renewed every two years so that one can continue practicing. People who are renewing their licenses have to ensure that they are aware of the new treatment procedures and new regulations. They might have to attend a training before going to renew their license. If one does not renew the license, they will not be allowed to practice.

4. Cost of education - Attaining an undergraduate degree is expensive in physical therapy. One might be forced to take a student loan if they are not able to cover all the tuition fee by themselves. In addition, making the choice to specialize will require advanced training thus one will have to face more expenses.

5. Difficulty in dealing with patients - As one practice, they will meet with all kinds of patients. It might not be easy dealing with them as they might be suffering from trauma in the case of those who suffered a grievous injury. One might easily become overwhelmed with the job especially if the client is difficult or is responding slowly to the treatment.

Thank you for you insight, I'll take it into consideration. Maria E.