When I was looking for a career I knew I didn't want to sit at work all day, I wanted to help people. I am a people person and have the personality to motivate and emphythize. I knew there was growth potential as a PTA to progress towards PT or manager, and there are so many different places to work ( Pediatrics, neurology, orthopedic, geriatric, hospital, outpatient...). There is opportunity to travel state to state or other countries if you want. The field is endless.
Maria Cecilia San Juan
Maria Cecilia’s Answer
My path to becoming a physical therapist was like many others who had an experience with physical therapy at young age. My mother was playing tennis and tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in her knee while diving for a ball. I would go to physical therapy with her after school. Watching her re-learn to walk, get off crutches, and watching neuromuscular stimulation sealed the deal for me.
I now work as physical therapist who gets to do it all in an outpatient based clinic. We see patients with pulmonary conditions, vestibular, orthopedic, and I just started my own program for patients with forms of dysautonomia. Physical therapy is a career were you can find your own niche and find your passion. I love that I can always be moving throughout my day and help people reach their goals.
I found PT while I was in college. When I was in high school I liked the sciences and went into pre med. I continued to like the sciences but one semester my counselor suggested I take a class in corrective therapy which was used in VA hospitals. I really enjoyed the hands -on part of the program . My counselor recommended PT to me and it turned out to be a great fit.
It is a wonderful career. I have worked in hospitals doing acute care, orthopedics, rehab and pediatrics. I have worked in a school, university setting , have done research and private practice. I found that I loved sports medicine and pediatrics. There are many areas you can explore . I also love working with patients and their families and teaching PT students. Every patient is different and interesting. It is never a boring job! It is a good job for different personality types. I am an introvert and enjoyed the opportunity to work one on one with patients and my extrovert friends enjoyed it too. I think if you enjoy being with people and would like to learn about many different areas or focus on one specialty you will enjoy it.
I would recommend volunteering in a hospital or other setting with PT so you can experience it .
Good luck in your future!
I chose to be a physical therapist assistant because when I was in college for my bachelor's degree, my brother has a sports injury and had to see a physical therapist. I was intrigued and did some research. At the time I was in my second semester of freshman year majoring in Business Marketing and I hated it. I looked into physical therapy and learned that most people majored in something under the human movement umbrella like kinesiology, physiology, exercises science, etc. Luckily my college had an exercise science degree program so I switched majors sophomore year.
After I graduated from college I didn't know what to do. I did every job that would fall under my degree including corporate wellness, personal training, group exercise instructor, chiropractic assistant and physical therapy (PT) tech/aide. I really enjoyed being a PT tech and my co-workers encouraged my to go back to school for PT. I knew my GPA and grades were not going to make the cut for a DPT program and I didn't have the money and I didn't want to pull another loan. I already had $40K in student loan debt from undergrad and DPT school averages $120K. My co-workers told me about the PTA program that wasn't as strict on GPA and was a fraction of the cost (~20K) of the DPT program. I did my research and applied. It was the hardest but best thing I ever did and I love what I do.
I work with people everyday to help them get better and stronger. It is a very rewarding field with lots of options to branch out.