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Physical Therapy?

What is your schedule like?

What do you like about being a physical therapy?

What kind of benefits do you get?

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Donna’s Answer

As a physical therapist for 35+ years in several different settings, I found each setting had its own rewards and challenges. PT's can work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities,home health, school systems, etc. In each setting, it was extremely rewarding to work with patients to achieve their highest level of independence, improve their function or decrease their pain. A typical day had regularly scheduled patients for the PT to see, either for an initial evaluation or ongoing treatment. Some settings have PT Assistants or aids to help with aspects of treatments; others the PT does the entire treatment themselves. As patients improve, you change their treatment goals and set up a new program for them to work on, so the work is ever-changing and can be very challenging when a patient isn't improving or cooperating. Most patient interactions are very enjoyable.
There is always the paperwork/computer charting aspect of the job and that can be exasperating some days, but it is necessary to do that well so someone else can step in to work with your patient if you can't. Also, there are opportunities to work both full and part time in PT, as your own life events change.
Your benefits at your workplace will vary depending on your employment status. If you are an employee, you will be offered the standard benefits such as health insurance, retirement funds, possibly assistance with malpractice insurance, etc. If you are a contracted therapist, benefits may or may not be available--it varies by contracting agency.
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Lauren E.’s Answer

Hi! I have experience in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy office. I normally work from 9:00 AM to 7:30 PM and am clocked in for 10 hours a day. I used to work 40 hours a week but dropped down to 30 hours a week after having kids. In general, I can see 2 patients an hour. So I'll see patients from 9-1:30 and then take a lunch from 1:30-2. And then see my afternoon patients from 2-7:30. This is very generally speaking. There can be a lot of fluctuation and wiggle room in the timing and structure of this type of day, but in general this is what it "should" look like. I had co-workers that worked 1/2 days or 12-hour days, or only 20 hours a week. There can be a lot of flexibility in the schedule depending on where you work and what the company's expectations are but also what you want.

I love helping people! In school you'll learn all about the types of patients you'll treat, the types of exercises you'll do for them that are appropriate, and hands-on or manual therapy techniques like massage or stretching and much more that you perform directly on the patient. I love helping them feel better and improve. It is very satisfying work. You get to interact with many different types of people.

The companies I have worked for provided paid time off for vacation and sick time (up to a certain amount - and typically the longer you work there, the more time off you accrue), health insurance (but you still have to pay your portion of the cost every paycheck), retirement plans (for you to contribute money to each paycheck, and then the company will also put some money into each paycheck). There's normally optional dental and vision insurance available. Some companies help pay or totally cover Continuing Education costs that are required for you to take so many hours of to keep your license (20 hours for PTA's and 40 hours for PT's to complete every 2 years). I've also had my CPR license fee reimbursed, which I'm also required to have in order to treat patients. Some companies might reimburse your membership fee to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). If your office requires you to wear that company's uniform, you might get money toward a uniform balance to purchase clothes to wear to work. Plus you get paid to work, whether that ends up being hourly or salary. You might even get a bonus if you've met certain productivity goals (but I wouldn't count on it!).

Lauren E. recommends the following next steps:

Do a job search for Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant. They normally have a list of benefits listed on the job description in order to inform you and entice you to apply to their company. You can use a job search website like Indeed or you can use the APTA website as a good resource.
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Carrie’s Answer

I work in an outpatient setting where patients are able to come to the clinic for treatment. I work part time and come to work after the school bus picks up my son.
I like being able to educate my patients on what is going on with them, and help them set proper expectations on what their therapy journey will look like. My patients need to know they are required to participate actively in exercise and stretching at the clinic and on their own at home to see improvement.
The benefits that are available to therapists will include salary, health insurance, sometimes assistance with continuing education, and a retirement plan. I work with a very fun group which makes going to work very enjoyable!
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Margie’s Answer

Hi Ivie,
I am a home health physical therapist assistant in Virginia.

I get to make my own schedule so I work Tues-Fri. Full time is considered 30 visits a week. You can work any combination you want I try to see 7-8 patients a day but I average 5-7.

What I love about PT is that I am helping people everyday. I love that home health gives me flexibility and autonomy that I want to create a health work-life balance.

I am an independent contractor (1099) so I do not get any benefits. When I was a full time W-2 employee I had all the benefits from PTO, health insurance, short term disability, long term disability and 401(k). I chose to do go to the independent contract route to have more freedom.
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