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What made you want to become a Physical Therapist?

I am considering studying Physical Therapy and want to know more about it.

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Lauren’s Answer

I am a physical therapist assistant. Shortly, I became a therapist after teching (physical therapist tech) for two years in an outpatient clinic. A tech helps patients through exercises, assist with hot/cold pack application.
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.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Lauren! I find it really cool that there are so many opportunities to work in different places! Sandra
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Maria Cecilia’s Answer

My attraction to physical therapy started at quite a young age as I was surrounded by family who were all in healthcare. Although I didn't know it at that time, it just felt natural to choose a profession in this environment. Physical therapy became my choice when I was a junior in high school when I sat in on a presentation by a PT during a Career Day event. The length of schooling, guarantee of finding a suitable job, making a comfortable living along with the opportunity to work in healthcare to assist others made for a good combination. Physical therapy has also afforded me various environments to learn as well as share my skills and expertise - school, hospital, outpatient clinic, assisted living, etc - making it certain that I would always be able to find a place where I'd be needed for the duration of my career. I've not been bored nor lacking of things to learn over the past 33 years so, if my experiences resonate with you, looking into physical therapy may be the route for you. Good luck!!
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Susie’s Answer

For me, my BS in Physical Therapy, was meant to be a stepping stone to medical school, as I intended to become a pediatrician and work with children with special needs, as a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric physiatrist. I remained in the field of physical therapy as I enjoyed it immensely, and still do. I still get to work with children and young adults with a wide range of disabilities and needs, get to work with parents, too. It is a nice mix of science, research, art, compassion, fitness, and creativity. PTs can work with people of all ages, from the tiniest babies on the planet up through elderly folks- and in so many different settings including hospitals, clinics, schools, or sports settings. Some work in non-clinical roles, too. Or teach at community colleges (PTA programs), DPT schools, or other university or graduate courses. The PT degree is now a doctorate, requiring a 4-year undergraduate degree plus a 3-year DPT graduate program. Perhaps you could shadow a physical therapist or two and see what a typical shift might look like?
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Susie! Your answer is very thorough, and I found it very helpful. I like how you mentioned it is a very diverse occupation, and that is have several chocies. Sandra
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Sandra,
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.
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Nancy’s Answer

Hi Sandra
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!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Nancy! Your answer was really helpful. I will look into volunteering at a hospital! Sandra
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Margie’s Answer

Hi Sandra,
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.
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