I am a physical therapy assistant. I have been a PTA for 4 + years now.
I started working right after graduation before my board exam.
Day to day I start seeing my first patient around 9/10am. I work in home health so I get to make my own schedule.
I chose this job 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.
Margie recommends the following next steps:
Jessica recommends the following next steps:
I choose PT because I love learning how the body works and helping people be the most functional they can be. I also loved that I can practice without someone watching over my shoulder and I can work in many different settings. It has been a wonderful career!
Beth recommends the following next steps:
I chose PTA because I had been in school for three years already not knowing what I wanted to do. Took a job as a rehab tech (helping PT/PTA with getting patients hot packs and oing through exercises). When my initial career choice failed, I decided I liked my tech job enough to make it a career. I did not go for PT because the schooling was too long and the pay did not match the amount of schooling. And, if I wanted to do PT eventually, I would always do a bridge program (PTA to PT school). I did fall in love with the career while in school because the human body and it's mechanics are amazing and the effects of disease on the body are intriguing.