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How do I become a PT tech/aide? I know the experience hours would be extremely beneficial to my overall knowledge and PT school application.

I'm in the middle of my undergraduate Exercise Physiology degree and getting ready to apply to PT school in about 2 years. #physicaltherapy #graduateschool #application #tech #aide #experience #volunteer #shadowing #JULY20

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Courtney’s Answer

Hi Price! The most important thing that you can do to get started is to talk to some folks in the field of PT who are already doing the work you'd like to get experience doing. For example, you might reach out to some PT offices nearby and see if you could set up short phone calls with some PTs/PT techs/aides to ask them some questions and gain valuable information like: How did they get their job? What do they like about it? What's challenging about it? Are there others in the field that they could connect you to for more info? These "informational interviews" often lead to opportunities for work/shadowing. Make sure to have an updated resume ready to send these new connections and inquire about whether or not they hire for part-time/full-time support, interns, etc. Don't be afraid to reach out to people that you don't already know -- just make sure you're ready to tell them about yourself: why are you interested in working with/for them?! If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can connect with them there, too (and even find folks who are alumni of your institution using the Find Alumni feature).
Thank you comment icon Thank you Courtney! I will be sure to reach out to some clinics. Price
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Justin’s Answer

I recommend two things. 1. Call or stop by multiple PT clinics, hospitals or any other PT setting & ask if they are hiring PT techs/aids. You do not need any experience & just the fact that you are obtaining you Ex Sports Science degree & pursuing a PT license should be enough. We have all been there. 2. If they are not hiring for a paid tech position, ask about shadowing or volunteering. Most of the techs at my current place of employment, an inpt rehab hospital, started off by volunteering or being hired on a prn/as needed basis. This got their foot in the door & then once a full or part-time position opened, they applied and were hired. Being paid as a tech is obviously the best choice, you get paid to gain experience, but volunteering is still getting hours of experience. My recommendation is to get several hours from several different settings. When I applied, I had never worked as a tech, like many of my other classmates in PT school, but I made sure that I volunteered/shadowed at multiple settings, such as acute, LTAC, inpt rehab, outpt, SNF & you can even get some experience riding along w/ a home health PT. I had a few shadow me for a day when I did home health. I was told during my PT school interview that the fact that I had a wide variety of experience in different settings, even though some were just 1 day, was very beneficial because I was able to see multiple different aspects of PT vs. months or years working as a tech in only one setting. I hope this helps. Please reach out if you have any further questions & good luck in your career as a PT!

Justin Stromberg, PT, LMT, CLT
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