PTA vs PT... Physical Therapy, a long term career?

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J in Buffalo, New York

37 months ago

thats about right

don't worry about "downgrading" the degrees .... many ppl do

in my program (expecting to graduate 10-15), 3 have a prior bachelors (in my case, 2 bachelors, and a minor !)

its the degree you use that makes a difference, and if it gets me a job (i'm not going to be a statistic), and a worth-while career....from a 2-yr community college, go for it

for some others, a DPT may work , or may not , a PTA may/may not work also

you do hear of other professionals changing course into a DPT, but thats rare, given the time/$ committment

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PTAlaura in Willowbrook, Illinois

37 months ago

jennivee in Leesburg, Florida said: I wish you had got some feedback because these are my thoughts almost exactly. I have a B.S. degree, but I am considering going back (feels like a step back) to get a PTA (considering the costs of grad school, etc). I just don't want to feel that I am working so far below my level.

I have my B.S. degree in Kinesiology and I went back to school to become a PTA. I know the feeling of going backwards but most of the people in my program had a B.S. I just started working as a PTA and I really like it.

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PTA in Weston, Florida

37 months ago

PTAlaura in Willowbrook, Illinois said: I have my B.S. degree in Kinesiology and I went back to school to become a PTA. I know the feeling of going backwards but most of the people in my program had a B.S. I just started working as a PTA and I really like it.

PTAlaura,

What type of setting did you start working in as a PTA? Can you tell us the pros and cons of that environment? Thanks.

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joe in West Palm Beach, Florida

37 months ago

:)

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Morgan in Chicago, Illinois

36 months ago

I've gotten a B.Sc in Marketing and have been working for the last 3 years. I'm 26 now, and wanting to pursue a career in PT. The downside is the debt and the length of time required. I would need to take 1 - 2 years of courses to complete my pre-reqs and take the GRE's. Prior to this thread, I did not know much about PTA's. Would PT be a better bet now, or PTA?

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Alice Cooper in Los Angeles, California

36 months ago

For being a physical therapist assistants an associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program is necessary. Such courses usually last for 2 years. But for being a physical therapist, a baccalaureate degree is necessary which last for almost 3-4 years. As a general norm, physical therapy assistants work under physical therapists. So you have to decide how much time you can spend in studies. I think the following site would help you in taking a decision. physicaltherapycolleges.org/ But since it's difficult for you to spend much time and money in studies, you can look for some online courses as well. By this you can continue with your current job also. I hope the above information would help you.

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Patrick in Palm Springs, California

36 months ago

Mike in Saint Louis, Missouri said: I would choose PA or PT before PTA. I've been a PTA for almost 10 years and originally checked into the PA program first followed by the PT. The only reason why I didn't follow through was because of the long waiting list which was around 5 years. I enjoy being a PTA but unless you plan on getting your MBA and eventually working in healthcare managment or some coorporate job it really is a limited profession both profesionally and financially. If I could go back I would have choosen to get my PA or PT degree. I did however go on to get my ATC. It's fun but doesn't pay well.

I'm certified CMT wanting to go for PT or PTA then I consider RN but originally I wanted to do was PA - i'm 43 times running out not sure what direction to go? I enjoy hands on time with the patient and getting the best outcome - what are your thoughts -

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Patrick in Palm Springs, California

36 months ago

I'm certified CMT wanting to go for PT or PTA then I consider RN but originally I wanted to do was PA - i'm 43 times running out not sure what direction to go? I enjoy hands on time with the patient and getting the best outcome - what are your thoughts -

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T in San Diego, California

36 months ago

Hi Patrick! I was a LMT also and am pursing PTA. I was gonna do PT, but the schools here are too expensive and its not like I want to do PT soo much that I will get myself in that much debt. I dont think it is worth it to me. I also considered nursing but after talking to many nurses they dont recommend it especially considering the direction nursing is heading. Back in the 80s or 90s they were treated better and less politics and drama. I plan to do PA later on but you need about 2 years of direct hands on patient care. I figure I will get that when I become a PTA then I can go for my PA if I feel I need to be more challenged. Im in San Diego. Where do you plan to apply?

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sd13 in Astoria, New York

36 months ago

Whats the average entry-level salary in this field in new york? Im getting contradicting information. Most sources state that the salary starts at $45-50k but i found a couple of sources like this one that state $33,000 per year.

www.nycareerzone.org/cz/profile.jsp?onetsoc=31-2021.00&base=cluster.jsp&qs=cluster%3D4

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steven in Torrance, California

33 months ago

Abby in Salt Lake City, Utah said: Whether or not PT school is worth the money depends on how long you plan to work. For example, here are some ROUGH estimates of cost vs salary (these are ROUGH estimates are based on national averages):
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 5 years $200K = $190K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 5 years $300K = $200K earned
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 10 years $450K = $440K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 10 years $700K = $600K earned
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 20 years $950K = $940K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 20 years $1600K = $1500K earned
So if you only work 5 years after graduating, PTAs and PTs come out about the same. But after 10-20 years, PTs are WAY ahead. I started out as a PTA and did pretty well financially, but I hated how I had to do what others told me to do. Even though my bosses always respected my opinions, it always boiled down to doing what THEY wanted to do. I am now a PT and I absolutely love my job. I set my own hours and basically do what I want. It was well worth the extra year of prereqs and huge tuition bill.

How about the interest for the loan? plus you have to pay off other expenses, making it difficult to pay it off.

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Future PTA in Seattle, Washington

33 months ago

As I said earlier in the thread, those numbers are way off. They don't factor in interest, as you noted. More importantly, they don't factor in the fact that a PTA would be working for the additional 3 years it would take the PT to still be earning his degree.

Add another 3 years and you are at the break even point between PT and PTA. Approx. 8 years before you break even between the two degrees. PT degree is very much a long, long term investment.

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SDPT in San Antonio, Texas

33 months ago

PTAlaura in Willowbrook, Illinois said: I have my B.S. degree in Kinesiology and I went back to school to become a PTA. I know the feeling of going backwards but most of the people in my program had a B.S. I just started working as a PTA and I really like it.

I think many are overlooking this point about the B.S., one of my best friends is also in a program in Houston where most already have degrees^^^. Keep in mind PTA programs are also competitive and like DPT programs you need to stand out as an applicant. Many applicants that get accepted already have a bachelors, therefore eliminating the argument that PTA is only two years vs DPT at 7 years. Really many new grad PTA's have 6 years of college education.

Furthermore, those who are debating physical therapy vs nursing vs PA need to look at the job descriptions and even shadow some professionals in each of the disciplines. After doing this it should be an obvious choice for you because these are very different professions. Most DPT programs will interview you if you make the cut and you can bank on them asking you why you are choosing DPT and not med school or PA school. DPT programs quickly find out if you are someone who understands the profession and are the type of person they want in their program.

If you know for sure PT is something that interest you I suggest you at least apply to DPT school and see if you even get accepted so you don't what if yourself. If you don't get accepted it may make your decision much easier. My DPT program and most in Texas get between 400-500 applicants, interview ~100, and except ~40. Comparatively I have been told by a PA student/ classmate at my school they had over 1000 applicants for even less spots than DPT. I'd also like to point out at my school the DPT and PA students have anatomy lecture and cadaver lab together and we have nice competition. :)

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SDPT in San Antonio, Texas

33 months ago

PTAlaura in Willowbrook, Illinois said: I have my B.S. degree in Kinesiology and I went back to school to become a PTA. I know the feeling of going backwards but most of the people in my program had a B.S. I just started working as a PTA and I really like it.

I think many are overlooking this point about the B.S., one of my best friends is also in a program in Houston where most already have degrees^^^. Keep in mind PTA programs are also competitive and like DPT programs you need to stand out as an applicant. Many applicants that get accepted already have a bachelors, therefore eliminating the argument that PTA is only two years vs DPT at 7 years. Really many new grad PTA's have 6 years of college education.

Furthermore, those who are debating physical therapy vs nursing vs PA need to look at the job descriptions and even shadow some professionals in each of the disciplines. After doing this it should be an obvious choice for you because these are very different professions. Most DPT programs will interview you if you make the cut and you can bank on them asking you why you are choosing DPT and not med school or PA school. DPT programs quickly find out if you are someone who understands the profession and are the type of person they want in their program.

If you know for sure PT is something that interest you I suggest you at least apply to DPT school and see if you even get accepted so you don't what if yourself. If you don't get accepted it may make your decision much easier. My DPT program and most in Texas get between 400-500 applicants, interview ~100, and except ~40. Comparatively I have been told by a PA student/ classmate at my school they had over 1000 applicants for even less spots than DPT. I'd also like to point out at my school the DPT and PA students have anatomy lecture and cadaver lab together and we have nice competition. :)

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PT in San Diego in Carlsbad, California

33 months ago

As a PT, I have enjoyed my career. What I would suggest is to really consider what you truly would love to do first. Then make all your efforts towards this goal. In the end you will be rewarded for this regardless of what you decide. Employers want people who are excited by what they do and this will serve you well in any career. So think carefully about this and make a decision that is right for you.

As for the difference between PT and PTA. I have worked most of my career in PT/PTA teams and think this is a good partnership. I respect the treatment focus of the PTA position. I strive to develop my evaluation and treatment planning skills to serve as a PT who delivers high quality patient care. What are your strengths? I think this is the most important question in deciding which is right for you.

Healthcare positions are truly rewarding but with this reward come responsibility. You will have a position of trust and will need to value this. Your job will be to bring the best possible care to every patient. To me this is why I enjoy working with other healthcare professionals, we are united in this and understand this unique aspect of our work.

My best with your decisions!

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PT in San Diego in Carlsbad, California

33 months ago

The above comment should read last paragraph, first sentence.... Healthcare positions are truly rewarding but with this rewards comes responsibility.

Done!

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PT in San Diego in Carlsbad, California

33 months ago

ok last time ! ...with this reward comes responsibility.

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PT in San Diego in Carlsbad, California

33 months ago

Capt27 in Kent, Ohio said: My daughter is thinking about PT school. I advised her that she need to research both PTA and PT. What I dont understand is why cant you work as a PTA while getting your PT. I have been told that some employment places might even help with the cost of the transision. As a father I find it hard for a 18 year old daughter to invest such time and money for the status of a PT name. When in the end it is the money that counts. 6 years of schooling seems like alot for the pay difference. There is alot more to life than a title.

I would love some more input so I can help her make a good choice.

Hi,

As a PT I can chime in with my observations.

The PTA position is a licensed position in healthcare so you need to have the required education and pass a licensing exam to work as a PTA. With this said, your daughter can work as an unlicensed PT aide with differing responsibilities but she would be exposed to both the work environment and the job responsibilities of the PT and the PTA professions. This type of work in either a paid or volunteer capacity will be required to apply to both PT or PTA programs regardless of her decision.

I also suggest she look at the APTA, American Physical Therapy Association website for the education requirements of all PTA and PT programs in the US. All programs are listed on this site.

As for the pay difference it can be substantial. With earnings for PT as much as 40% more over the course of a career.

Good luck!

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Carolyn in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas

33 months ago

My granddaughter is crushed, did not make the cut with a 3.5 bachelors in biology but has an interview for pta. She really wanted pt so badly and can wait until next year and try again but the list is so long and chances of making it are a longshot, over 400 applied for 30 spots, almost impossible, bad odds to wait for what you want that may never happen. Someone please give her some advice.

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Future PTA in Seattle, Washington

33 months ago

^The best advice she can get is not to limit herself geographically to one school. The odds from school to school can vary substantially. She should be applying to several schools at the same time to maximize her chances. Grad. school is all about geographic mobility and increasing your odds through extreme flexibility and applying to the schools that she has the best chance of getting into. She needs to be willing to move to accomplish her dreams, in other words.

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aztecstadium in Dallas, Texas

31 months ago

The field seems to be flooded in a lot of jobs with the least desirable jobs most commonly open such as nursing home followed by strict hospitals with poor flexibility and rules. The landscape of the nursing home is difficult because of the changing medicare regulations and the demand for the nursing home to generate revenue with at times disregard for what is needed for the patient providing excessive therapy to increase revenue. The salaries for PT's here in Dallas for outpatient are for a new grad starting at around $28 to 30 an hour to around $39 to $41 an hour for skilled nursing facility to around $28 an hour for hospital. I've know of a PTA maxing out around $38 an hour in the skilled nursing setting but they usually get paid starting at $32 to $37 in the skilled nursing setting. Pt in the nursing home will usually get paid $38 to possible $46 if there is a big need in a rural part. With recent healthcare changes the field in general is looking less and less secure. I have known of PTA's making over 100,000 K in the home health setting. The difference is in treating versus evaluations and re-evaluations, the evaluations and re-evaluations are very time consuming and are more difficult to schedule thus slowing the pace of a PT whereas a PTA focuses on treats and has a lot less documentation thus they can see more patients and make more money. Regarding contract home health: In Dallas it is becoming increasing more difficult to carry a caseload in home health whether it be a PT or PTA due to the flooded situation regarding therapist and I have know of multiple therapist have to work for at least 4 or 5 agencies and even still struggling to have patients even after that including myself as a PT.
Hope this is helpful.

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Future PTA in Seattle, Washington

31 months ago

^Thanks for your post! Do you think other areas of Texas are better than Dallas, either in terms of pay or job prospects?

I was thinking of making a move to Texas soon because I have heard prospects are good there. Is Dallas more flooded with job seekers than other areas or cities in Texas based on your experience?

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Natalie267 in Houston, Texas

31 months ago

I am a 23 yr old senior at a university in Texas. I will graduate next may with my BS in Kinesiolgy and have been working as a rehab tech for a year in a PT/OT clinic. I have gone back and forth and have decided I would rather pursue PT as a career choice. However, because I have not found my passion till later into my degree plan I don't have time to finish pre requisites before gradiation. I am an independent student and have to support myself. I have my heart set on becoming a PT. I have been trying to figure out the best way to finish pre reqs and get to my dream of becoming a PT. I have had several people tell me to get my PTA and just go to work but I don't feel like I would be happy. I have considered going to get my masters in Kinesiolgy and working on my pre reqs that way. The length of the program is just long enough to finish my course work and apply to a DPT program. I know it's gonna be a good year and half of not two to finish the courses because there are so many, so I don't see why it would not be a bad idea. I would get an extra degree in a field I love, get the aid I need to support myself & not stress myself out working trying to take hard pre req courses. I have already talked to financial aid advisors and because of my situation I am going to qualify for lots of grants and scholarships so loans won't be outrageous. I am looking at around 50-60K when I am finished with my DPT. I know that's a lot of money to pay back but I would have 3 degrees and one being a doctorate at 29 years old. I feel like I would be personally satisfied and that is almost priceless and worth the loans. I don't want to look back when I'm 40 and have any regrets or what ifs.

I dont want to waste money or go out of my way so I am interested in hearing advice from
Other people who have been in my place before?

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ppttaa in Buffalo, New York

31 months ago

This is a pretty subjective issue, and an individual really has to decide for themselves. As PTA's continue to garner more and more respect, the pay will follow.

Since we're talking about long-term .... we'll all die one day.

I'd rather finish up w/ school, pay off loans, and start enjoying life.

Its an additional 4 yrs of school (prob graduate level costs), that will take 8 more yrs to repay (if you're lucky).

as for typical 2-yr PTA degree, you can prob pay it off in 2-4 yrs, then start generating a "net" income.

now, for those with other obligations,this is a big decision.

for an individual who graduates as a PTA and under 25 (or so), if they should wish to pursue the DPT, they shouldn't have to start over essentially. They didn't do it when the converted BSPT, to MSPT, to DPT. and PTA's shouldn't either.

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ppttaa in Buffalo, New York

31 months ago

Abby in Salt Lake City, Utah said: Whether or not PT school is worth the money depends on how long you plan to work. For example, here are some ROUGH estimates of cost vs salary (these are ROUGH estimates are based on national averages):
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 5 years $200K = $190K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 5 years $300K = $200K earned
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 10 years $450K = $440K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 10 years $700K = $600K earned
PTA: cost $10K, salary x 20 years $950K = $940K earned
PT: cost $100K, salary x 20 years $1600K = $1500K earned
So if you only work 5 years after graduating, PTAs and PTs come out about the same. But after 10-20 years, PTs are WAY ahead. I started out as a PTA and did pretty well financially, but I hated how I had to do what others told me to do. Even though my bosses always respected my opinions, it always boiled down to doing what THEY wanted to do. I am now a PT and I absolutely love my job. I set my own hours and basically do what I want. It was well worth the extra year of prereqs and huge tuition bill.

where is this info coming from ?!

whatever the number is, you'll have to pay back the loans w/ interest (which could pay for a car, down payment for car, or even a yr of college !)

don't think gross, think net

which degree do you think will start earning net pay sooner ?

from my various experiences, many PTA have started and raised families and have started putting towards 401k retirements, while their same cohort PT's shudder at starting families and haven't even started paying back a significant portion of their loans yet !!!

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Future PTA in Seattle, Washington

30 months ago

Not to mention those numbers don't take into account the fact that the PTA is working two years sooner, so add another 100K to the PTA side for that, plus the interest on the loans for PT, plus the schooling costs, and you're looking at more like 8 years before you hit a break even point.

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southfla in Boynton Beach, Florida

30 months ago

I'm finishing my pre req's now and starting pta school in January. I know pta's that make 6 figure income's, enjoy their jobs and have flexibility with their schedule. I toiled between pt and pta but at my age (28) I'm ready to enjoy my life and be done be done with school a little after 30. Hopefully their will be jobs then. I am happy about my decision and hopeful for the future.

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sil2012 in Miami, Florida

30 months ago

hello southfla,
I am planning to attend MDC for PTA...what school will you be going?...Congratulations on your acceptance:)..do you know the hourly wage for MIAMI?..Thank you

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holli?? in Brenham, Texas

29 months ago

I have a AA in social sceine and paid every dime outta pocket, well im still in the same position i was in the 5 yrs and 10k it took me to get the degree.
i live on my own, with my fiance and am 25. i really want a career to help people, i waitress and have for 8 years, i love my regulars and love to talk with them,and see them smile, thats the only reason i haven't left, i really want to help others and have personal interaction with them... im debating on getting my PTA , which would take me anther 3-5 yrs to complete, because i have to work full time, i will go to school part time, and work like i did before. i will also have to pay for it all, again, which is so frustrating, but theres not grands for a total of 7 hrs a semester, i also don't want to stress myself with more hrs, because my GPA was 3.8 when i got my degree... i have to go slow and steady... i would have 4 classes to go to even apply for the application to be a pta.... but hopefully in the long run itll be good, i need help on deciding if going for a PTA is a good idea? or would something be better? without puttin me in debt, and taking forever...the rehab in town said i can volunteer and get my in and out patient hours, before i pay for it, think its a good idea? and if i get my PTA i can always go beck and improve my degree right? i really don't want to waste my money on ANOTHER 2 yr degree thats not going to get me anywhere...
please help me, thanks so much.....

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MsMisha81 in Canton, Michigan

29 months ago

Holli??-- I don't know if you can do a PTA program with part time hours. Maybe someone else can chime in, but I believe you have to take all the classes that are offered for that semester. This is for the actual program, not for the prereqs. You can go at your own pace with those. Maybe it depends on your school.

As far as wasting your money, that is up to you and what you make of the degree. From what I've seen, PTA is a very rewarding career, but you have to WANT to do it. Don't do it just because you don't want to waitress anymore. It either is for you or it's not. Most schools want you to have at least 20 hours of volunteering with a therapist. You should try this first and then decide.

Just my two cents:)

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KatfutureDPT

27 months ago

how do people manage financially when in the DPT program?! I'm currently working on my Bachelors degree and get financial aid, when ever I get accepted into the Dpt program, I have to quit my job (which I'm not happy about, I'm currently a Surgical technologist) are there any loans that I can take to help support me while in school that will cover my Yearly income?! if so, what are they called? I don't even know if Financial Aid will cover a graduate program. I will be attending UCF in Orlando.

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juanovn in Albuquerque, New Mexico

22 months ago

So I have attained my bachelors in hospitality(not a field I enjoy) and am currently taking pre-requisite courses for a masters in Occupational Therapy, however I was thinking it may be more beneficial to work towards a PTA since this will satisfy a lot of the pre-requisites and also keep a high GPA while doing so, and by the time I would hopefully get accepted to an OT school I should attain the PTA, I would also think this would make me a more marketable/versatile Therapist overall.

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AEWard in Vicksburg, Michigan

14 months ago

This is an interesting forum. I'm a 48 year old woman, physically fit, active and strong. My life is changing completely and with it I am considering pursing working in some capacity in healthcare. Two PT friends of mine in different states are encouraging me to consider PT or PTA work, both highly recommend the professions for me given my personality and skills with people, work ethic and effort, physical well being and strength. I'm looking at my age, dollar and time investment regarding payback, and expected years of working. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, advice and opinions from PTs and PTAs about this topic. Other suggestions are appreciated, too. I do have a BS but it is not in health and it's 24 yrs old.

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PTAgirl in San Anselmo, California

14 months ago

AEWard in Vicksburg, Michigan said: This is an interesting forum. I'm a 48 year old woman, physically fit, active and strong. My life is changing completely and with it I am considering pursing working in some capacity in healthcare. Two PT friends of mine in different states are encouraging me to consider PT or PTA work, both highly recommend the professions for me given my personality and skills with people, work ethic and effort, physical well being and strength. I'm looking at my age, dollar and time investment regarding payback, and expected years of working. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, advice and opinions from PTs and PTAs about this topic. Other suggestions are appreciated, too. I do have a BS but it is not in health and it's 24 yrs old.

HI AE........It sounds like you might be a good fit for PTA as it does not require as much schooling as PT. Perhaps do some observation time in a clinic and see how you like it. I am a 47 yo PTA, I graduated a year and a half ago. It's a great career. I felt the same way when choosing this route about the money and time investment versus years working. There is also a competitive factor as it can be hard to get in to PT school.....so I chose PTA. The school was a great experience. Investigate your school options as well and see what appeals to you. Good luck.

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

14 months ago

AEWard in Vicksburg, Michigan said: This is an interesting forum. I'm a 48 year old woman, physically fit, active and strong. My life is changing completely and with it I am considering pursing working in some capacity in healthcare. Two PT friends of mine in different states are encouraging me to consider PT or PTA work, both highly recommend the professions for me given my personality and skills with people, work ethic and effort, physical well being and strength. I'm looking at my age, dollar and time investment regarding payback, and expected years of working. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, advice and opinions from PTs and PTAs about this topic. Other suggestions are appreciated, too. I do have a BS but it is not in health and it's 24 yrs old.

Hi,

Regardless of your choice, I would recommend working in a PT clinic to see firsthand what these positions are. Like you, I went back to school and obtained a PT degree but had completed a science degree making this easier to accomplish. Work conditions are approximately the same for PT and PTA positions. In the area of advancement in the profession, there are significant limitations to the PTA. PTs have much more opportunity to perform in different roles and that to me is one of the largest less obvious differences. If you are looking for autonomy then PT is more likely to fulfill that need. It is worthwhile also to consider the PA degree vs PT. Good luck with your adventure!

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

14 months ago

holli?? in Brenham, Texas said: I have a AA in social sceine and paid every dime outta pocket, well im still in the same position i was in the 5 yrs and 10k it took me to get the degree.
i live on my own, with my fiance and am 25. i really want a career to help people, i waitress and have for 8 years, i love my regulars and love to talk with them,and see them smile, thats the only reason i haven't left, i really want to help others and have personal interaction with them... im debating on getting my PTA , which would take me anther 3-5 yrs to complete, because i have to work full time , i will go to school part time, and work like i did before. i will also have to pay for it all, again, which is so frustrating, but theres not grands for a total of 7 hrs a semester, i also don't want to stress myself with more hrs, because my GPA was 3.8 when i got my degree... i have to go slow and steady... i would have 4 classes to go to even apply for the application to be a pta.... but hopefully in the long run itll be good, i need help on deciding if going for a PTA is a good idea? or would something be better? without puttin me in debt, and taking forever...the rehab in town said i can volunteer and get my in and out patient hours, before i pay for it, think its a good idea? and if i get my PTA i can always go beck and improve my degree right? i really don't want to waste my money on ANOTHER 2 yr degree thats not going to get me anywhere...
please help me, thanks so much.....

Hi Holli,

I would also suggest looking at states where community college PTA programs are low cost. There are programs in California costing less that $3,000.00 start to finish and there may be other states where this is available. This may allow you to work less and get the program completed in less time. If it were me I would go this route and take out a small loan for living expenses so you can complete the degree quickly. The first year salary will be worth the rush!

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

14 months ago

southfla in Boynton Beach, Florida said: I'm finishing my pre req's now and starting pta school in January. I know pta's that make 6 figure income's, enjoy their jobs and have flexibility with their schedule. I toiled between pt and pta but at my age (28) I'm ready to enjoy my life and be done be done with school a little after 30. Hopefully their will be jobs then. I am happy about my decision and hopeful for the future.

Hi,

I would review the true salaries for the PTA position. I am not aware of any PTA making six figures. The norm is closer to approximately $30.00 per hour for an experienced PTA. Good luck!

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Confused in Montclair, California

10 months ago

Ann in Beverly, New Jersey said: Here is some more insight. As a PTA with my experience, I make more money than most PT's just coming out of school. The bigest difference I see between the two besides the odvious is that there is alot more opportunities for PT's than there are for PTA's therefore, there is more opportunity to make more money in the long run.

I have a question for you or for anyone that sees this comment.
I am going to graduate in a year with my Bachelors degree in Kinesiology-Pre PT. I have had a plan to go to become a PT and open up my own practice. I have been interning at an outpatient PT facility and really enjoy what they do. I have been thinking though and have been torn whether to go straight into PT school or PTA. (I am 22 yrs old, female) As I think about my life and what I want I want to have a family and be a mother who can stay home with her children.
Sooo....If I go PT route then I see my self graduating as a DPT at 27 with 100K of debt and more counting in the interest. I work for a couple of years to pay off my loans religiously which would put me at 3 years. Then.. at that age not to much later I would hope to start a family. So because I do not want to leave my children I become a stay at home mother and my career is over! I just worked my butt off in PT school and worked my butt off to pay my loans and my career is over. A huge investment if I am not sure. Please help

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funtwo in Gardena, California

10 months ago

-what are your grades by the way? Im assuming u got ur b.a pre physical therapy from csudh?Everyone wants to become a pt or pta these days.. so its highly competitive
u can work at a part time as a pt and take care of your kids
-Find a baby sitter
-You can always work as a pt or pta later or make family later?

If youre worried about not being able to pay ur loans then dont make a family until u pay it off

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Julia Freed in Biglerville, Pennsylvania

10 months ago

Hello,

I'm a Senior in High School and I'm looking into the DPT program (Pre-Physical Therapy in a BS of Biology) and a PTA Degree. I'm really torn between the two and need help deciding. I love the job, but I'm not sure about finances and which is just overall better to do. Where I'm looking PTA would be two years of about $22,000 a year. Where I'm looking at DTP at would be between $23,000-$32,000 a year (6-7 years of it) I get all A's and B's in my classes and take advanced classes. I'm scared if I go for my DPT I'd fail, and it'd be a waste of money. But, I don't really want to take the easy way out. I'm also scared I won't be able to afford the schooling for 6-7 years. I'm also already accepted to all my colleges I applied to for these degrees.

I'd also like to know how easy it would be to just get my PTA Degree, then later go back to get my DPT. Would this be a good idea? I could get my PTA Degree, then work for a little and go back part-time to get my DPT so I could actually afford it. Like I said, I'm really torn on what to do. I hope you guys could really help with this huge decision.

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

10 months ago

Hi.

I am a PT. My best advice would be to complete your Biology degree and then when you are a senior in college make this decision. You will have your own college experience and significantly more insight at that time. The Healthcare field is undergoing rapid change. I have spoken to at least one pre PT student who is deciding to complete a Physician's assistant program with a specialty in Orthopedics rather than PT.

I have worked my entire career in a PT/PTA team environment and have a great deal of respect for the treatment expertise of the PTA. WIth that said you will find the career opportunities as a PT far exceed those currently available for a PTA. While I think this needs to change that is the current situation.

This is a difficult decision for anyone, more time and exposure to academia will guide your ability to decide.

Good Luck!

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

9 months ago

Hello Everyone!

I am a recent grad with a B.S. in Economics. I do not wish to pursue this degree and am very interested in becoming a PTA. Will I be at a much larger disadvantage than those with science backgrounds or do programs not look too closely at that? I feel like I would greatly enjoy this career but having just now found this opportunity out, I feel like it would be a lot harder?

Any Suggestions or tips?

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Amanda in Cordova, Tennessee

3 months ago

Hi Tim,

Many PTA programs require you to complete your science prerequisites before gaining an acceptance. Many may also require you to take a test or have observation hours signed off. After you do this, you would be considered a good applicant.

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Amanda in Cordova, Tennessee

3 months ago

PTA programs have courses in Anatomy and kinesiology, which can be a lot when you've never had a science background, but it's possible!

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Jamal in Bridgeport, Connecticut

2 months ago

For advice.... im currently chasing my career as a PTA. In the long run i want to work as a travel PTA and soon i would love to work with althetes and help them get back on their feet. But the idea of going towards PT is alot of schooling but i know it'll pay off,but is the salary that big of diffrernces between PT and PTA?..ill rather work for passion over money but at the same time make a nice living paycheck.

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parisya in Saint George, Utah

1 month ago

Hi every one.I am from Ukraine,39 years old woman with family living in Utah....Please help me with some advice..I came to USA one year ago,i like here,my husband works here,i want to work too,i was graduated in Commerce...I wanted to study here and have a good job,i read so many forums just to know about many different professions and jobs,i found out that i want to work in healthcare,more i read about this more i understand that PTA is my choice.But i also found out that before to start studies i will need to show that i got all vaccinations required for PTA ...I am not sure i had all of them in my childhood,even if i had i can not prove this,so my question will be this-it is in this forum some body who got vaccination of Hepatitis B and others so late,i mean just before you begin college,i am worried about this...I am not afraid to get injections,i am not afraid of pain,i am worried about the reaction post vaccination.I just would like to hear from some one who is like me in the same situation,how you resolved this problem....Thank you very much.....

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

1 month ago

Hello,

Yes you will need to provide proof of the immunizations. If you are aware that the immunizations were performed but do not have the needed paperwork then you can have a blood test to determine this. You are permitted to sign a form to decline these immunizations.

Good luck

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

1 month ago

Jamal in Bridgeport, Connecticut said: For advice.... im currently chasing my career as a PTA. In the long run i want to work as a travel PTA and soon i would love to work with althetes and help them get back on their feet. But the idea of going towards PT is alot of schooling but i know it'll pay off,but is the salary that big of diffrernces between PT and PTA?..ill rather work for passion over money but at the same time make a nice living paycheck.

Hello,

This question is asked often. As a PT I am very glad to have chosen that route. However, the field of physical therapy is changing and the role of the PTA is expanding. Salaries are lower for the PTA but still very good. Some experienced PTA's can make more that a PT with less experience in some settings.

I think if you have a passion for the field of physical therapy you will be happy to work as a PT or PTA.

Good luck

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Mary in Carlsbad, California

1 month ago

Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio said: Hello Everyone!

I am a recent grad with a B.S. in Economics . I do not wish to pursue this degree and am very interested in becoming a PTA. Will I be at a much larger disadvantage than those with science backgrounds or do programs not look too closely at that? I feel like I would greatly enjoy this career but having just now found this opportunity out, I feel like it would be a lot harder?

Any Suggestions or tips?

I currently teach in a PTA program. My best recommendation would be to take an Anatomy and Physiology course prior to applying to a PTA program. The students who do this are more successful..

Good luck..

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parisya in Saint George, Utah

1 month ago

Mary in Carlsbad, California said: Hello,

Yes you will need to provide proof of the immunizations. If you are aware that the immunizations were performed but do not have the needed paperwork then you can have a blood test to determine this. You are permitted to sign a form to decline these immunizations.

Good luck

Thank you.....

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