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What's harder to become, PA or PT?

tahoe23tahoe23 Posts: 310- Member
edited January 2013 in Graduate School
Physical therapist or physician assistant?
Which has more work? More stress? More years of education? Less pay??
Post edited by tahoe23 on

Replies to: What's harder to become, PA or PT?

  • juilletjuillet Posts: 9,228Super Moderator Senior Member
    The PT takes at least one more year of education - MPT level qualification is being phased out in favor of DPT level of qualification, which is a 3-year program beyond undergrad. You can practice as a PA with just a master's, and there are some baccalaureate PA programs that take just over two years to complete and that you can do generally once you have completed 2-3 years of undergrad. So that's 7 years for the PT program vs. anywhere from 5-6 of the PA program.

    However, the caveat is that most PA programs require you to have hours of experience as a clinician (such as a nurse, a certified nursing assistant, EMT, paramedic, etc.) The hourly requirements are quite extensive (around 1,000-2,000 hours for the best programs), and those are minimums. At 40 hours a week, it takes 50 weeks (or about a year) to obtain 2,000 hours of experience. Most people in PA programs are nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other health care personnel with 3-5+ years of experience looking to move up/make a better salary/have more responsibility and direct care for patients.

    PT programs don't have the same requirements, although many of them do require a certain number of hours shadowing or working with a physical therapist. But it's work that you can do as a student.

    PAs make a little bit more than PTs. The median annual salary for PTs was $72,790 in May 2008, whereas it was $81,230 for PAs. The middle 50% of PTs made approximately $60-85K, whereas the middle 50% of PAs made approximately $68-97K per year. (Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physician Assistants, Physical Therapists)

    The rest is subjective and depends on where you work and who you work with. Both physical therapists and physician assistants can work in hospitals, clinics, private physicians' offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and a range of other health care institutions. The work you'll do will vary based upon that.
  • tahoe23tahoe23 Posts: 310- Member
    If I get a BS in kinesiology, can I go to grad school to pursue either one?
  • toledotoledo Posts: 4,592Registered User Senior Member
    Just for the record, there are now at least 20 schools that admit freshmen directly into a 5 year P.A. program. Most require few, if any hours, in the health care industry. Pennsylvania seems to have the most direct-admit programs. Sorry, but I don't know anything about kinesiology.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Posts: 7,734Registered User Senior Member
    PA requirements vary from school to school and may include coursework that is NOT covered by a kinesiology degree. (microbiology, OChem, for example). Check the requirements for any PA programs you may be interested in for details.
  • Bhans6Bhans6 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    Do you have a list or link of the direct admit PA programs?
  • toledotoledo Posts: 4,592Registered User Senior Member
    There is no direct link. I did hours of research using a list of accredited programs and going to each schools's web site. I'd guess the number may be closer to 30 now, as many new programs have started. Off the top of my head, Butler, Marquette, Univ of Detroit, Dayton, Mercyhurst, Gannon, Duquesne, DeSales, St. Francis, King's College, Seton Hill, Seton Hall, Phil. College of the Sciences, Arcadia, Drexel, Lock Haven, Marywood, St. Vincent, Seton Hall, Northeastern, Wagner, and Springfield.
  • juilletjuillet Posts: 9,228Super Moderator Senior Member
    As long as you have the prerequisites for the programs (I'm speaking of MA programs, here), you can major in anything you want, including kinesiology.

    There are also schools with regular BS programs that lead to PA licensure. City College of New York and CUNY-York College both have these programs. You can transfer there after 2-3 years as an undergrad elsewhere.
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