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Physical Therapy?

highschooldahighschoolda Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member
edited January 2011 in Careers in Medicine
Anyone know anything about this career? Is it enjoyable with decent pay?
Post edited by highschoolda on

Replies to: Physical Therapy?

  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Great field--hard work, good pay ($40-70K), fantastic job market--if you obtain the DPT degree (4 yrs undergrad, 2-3 yrs grad) you basically are assured of a job, period.

    Wife has been a PT for 25 years, still enjoys it, was able to (and still does) work part-time and raise our 2 kids. Daughter is a HS senior and has been accepted to 2 direct-entry physical therapy programs already.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Registered User Posts: 15,373 Senior Member
    would you reccomend the direct entry programs or the undergrad 4 years, then grad degree?
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Good question Celeb---

    Wife, D & myself are debating that point right now. She has been accepted so far to 2 direct entry programs. The main plus to that is she wouldn't have to apply to PT grad school, which apparently is no picnic, on a par with med school. Once you're in to a direct entry program as a freshman, as long as the wheels don't come off grade-wise, you're in for the duration, graduating after 6+ years with a clinical doctorate, the DPT, the new degree that ALL physical therapists are supposed to have by the year 2020. And in theory you save at least a half-year of tuition, room & board.

    The downside is this--accelerated programs are tough--the student basically does 4 years of undergrad work in three years. Fine for the single-minded, hard-driving wanna-be PT, but we were told by the PT director at one of her accepted schools that she would be taking extra classes right off the bat as a freshman, and that D would have to manage her time extremely well if she wanted to participate in ANY extracurricular activities like club sports or music. Add to that the situation of one of D's friends who entered a direct-entry program out East two years ago. Within a semester she had switched over to occupational therapy and at winter break this year she came home and is now attending community college near home. And this is a smart kid too.

    So I would examine each program on a case-by-case basis. My D's first-choice school right now, in the South, has a neat deal where the student enters as a pre-physical therapy major, with a normal course load, and once she gets the 'lay of the land', maybe taking an extra course or two but not every semester, she may enter direct-entry program at the end of the sophomore year. Seems like the best of both worlds to me.
  • ssattler07ssattler07 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Im sorry if you already addressed this jnm123, (I didn't really follow what you said before) but if I was debating between a career in law and physical therapy, would attending a 4 year university and deciding from there be a good idea?
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Registered User Posts: 15,373 Senior Member
    thank you so much jnm123. Is there an actual pre-PT major, if you're going the way your wife did, or is it like med school where you have to take the prerequisites, but you can major in whatever you want?
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Many universities have pre-PT majors, but no actual graduate PT school. That's fine too. The undergrad will take a lot of humanities, psych, and other pre-med type courses. But I want to make it clear that you don't have to do a pre-PT major--one can major in psych, health science, etc. Majoring in athletic training is a possibility too but the bottom line is this--for the specific grad PT school one is applying, yes, you have to have the necessary prerequisite undergrad courses.

    Then, upon graduation, you have to apply to physical therapy grad school (about 3 years), and competition to be admitted like I said is very fierce--the good ones (top 5 are USC, Emory, Duke Pitt and WUSTL) are brutally hard to get into, but fortunately there are others.
  • highschooldahighschoolda Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member
    jnm123 thanks for ur responses. .

    I am curious about the type of work a PT does. Is there a lot of heavy lifting or acutal "physical" work that goes w/ it. I am not a big 5-10 150 pounds. Is that a problem?

    I do enjoy helping people a lot, but not really use to seeing really handicapped disable people. is there patients w/ missing legs etc?

    Thanks for your help.

    My first choice is to become a pharmacist b/c it's a very high paying job and very clean. My second choice is PT b/c pharmacy is increidibly competitive admission. The good thing is that the prereqs are very similar.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Registered User Posts: 15,373 Senior Member
    If you can't deal with disabled people, I think that could be a problem. Obviously, I'm not a PT, but my mother has a couple of friends who are, and there is a difference between handicapped from birth (wheelchair, etc.) and handicapped from illness/injury (missing limbs, etc.)
  • highschooldahighschoolda Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member
    It's not that i can't deal w. them, i just have not had any expirience being around people who have seriously injuried or handicapped. So, i don't really know how i would react etc.

    I am kinda an athlte, somewhat, not a really successful one lol. But i was kinda hoping if i did go into PT, i would be working w/ athelete rahabing etc. I am not really sure if thats what a PT does.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Registered User Posts: 15,373 Senior Member
    I'm pretty sure it just depends on where you're hired. I've been around people of all handicaps my entire life, so I'm really used to it. Athlete rehab seems more like sports medicine however, unless it's something more serious.
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    You certainly have to have a mindset towards helping people, and then hopefully the rest of the uncertainty with being around disabled people will take care of itself.

    I'm not a PT myself, just married to one and D (who is 5-2, 105 BTW) is going into it. So I don't have first-hand experience, but I've been around physical therapy for the better part of 30 years. My remarks are--from what I see, it's not THAT much heavy lifting, more massage & manipulation through leverage and isometrics. But don't think pharmacy school is any harder to get into than graduate PT school--it's a bear & a half, which is why I'd like my D to go into a direct-entry program now to bypass the app process 4 years down the road, but that will be her decision.
  • waternoodleswaternoodles Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Other than Physical therapy, there are also Kinesiology majors for those who are interested in sports-related physical therapy.
  • highschooldahighschoolda Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member

    I live in California, we have only 6 pharmacy school and average admission rate is about 15%. Here are some %. http://career.berkeley.edu/Health/PharmApp.stm

    While, in cali, we have a ton of PT schools. About 14. Some admitt pretty much everyone who meets the reqs. http://www.apta.org/rt.cfm/Education/accreditation/Dir_Acc_PT_ED_Prog?process=1&state=CA&type=PT

    There is also a salary gap of about 25-30K from pharm to PT.

    THats why PT is a second choice for me.
  • jnm123jnm123 Registered User Posts: 743 Member

    As they say, to each his own. That salary gap you mention is really at the very top end of the salary scale--PT's max out at about $75K, while I suppose pharmacists can hit $100K. But starting out they're relatively equal. Both occupations, however, are pretty cool in that a female can get established in her field, then have kids and still work part-time at a nice hourly wage.
  • arizonamomarizonamom Registered User Posts: 1,359 Senior Member
    If you work in pediatrics there is no lifting, just sitting on the floor to play,do mat work; private practice PT's make well above the above mentioned salaries.The benefit too is you can make your own schedule.My D considered 5 years programs for OT but was told you basically have no life. Some of the professors said they would not have their children do it. My D wants to minor in a language and have a semester abroad so she is waiting for a grad school program. She is also not totally sure abour OT/PT or a PhD in psychology so obviously she has decided not to go with the 5 year programs she got into.
This discussion has been closed.