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PTA to PA

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by TooCool, Aug 31, 2011.

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  1. TooCool

    TooCool

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    Pre-Rehab Sci [AuD/DPT/OTD]
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    Has anyone gone this route?

    I dunno if Im totally sold on being a PT so Im thinking of being a PTA first and if I love it and wanna do more I can go for the PT. BUT if I want a change I can go for PA. And I believe the hours I have working as a PTA would count towards the 2000 hours of direct patient care.

    I really wanna start working so that is why PTA is very attractive to me right now.
  2. jgold72288

    jgold72288

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    PTA programs are only a year less than PT programs, so if you think there will be a significant chance that PT is a career you want to do, you may as well go to school for 3 years instead of 5. It's a lot easier to get it out of the way now than when you're trying to take care of a family or something. Do as much observing as you can to see if it's really what you want to do. Besides, you can somewhat scratch that work itch during your PT summers when you go out on clinicals (the working part anyway- not the money!).
  3. fejin757

    fejin757

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    OP hasn't stated if their prior educational background and a DPT degree is a much more significant investment than a PTA degree. If the OP, finishes the DPT and hates it..he/she will put themselves in a HUGE hole to go back for another masters. Easily surpassing the 100-150k mark if the poster isn't getting into public programs for each.

    OP, If you're unsure about the DPT degree and would like to test the waters, I would check out becoming a PT tech/exercise tech instead of taking all of the prereqs/etc to go to PTA school. While you may think it's a great idea those prereqs will definitely expire while you're working as a PTA, usually a 5-7 years since you've taken them( for PA school that is).
  4. TooCool

    TooCool

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    Oops sorry!
    Lemme give you guys some background info

    I am 30 with a Bachelor's in Business and am currently a massage therapist but getting very tired of it and want a change and want out as soon as I can! I have 150+ hours of observing PT's and PTA's in outpatient, inpatient and acute at a few different hospitals and clinics. I have chipped away at the prereqs for PT but still have about another year of prereqs to do still. My 1st month of observing I REALLY wanted to be a PT. But after observing other therapists at different settings I started to have doubts. Then I hear all this talk about the whole healthcare reform and cuts to medicare, the debt to income ratio for PT's and hearing from some of the PT's I shadowed that if they could do it all over they would do the PA route.

    I can see myself in the field of physical therapy and enjoying what I do, but I dont want to be in it THAT bad that I will shell out $80K+ for it yaknow? It's not like I ALWAYS wanted to be a PT. And from what Ive observed the PTA's seemed ALOT happier than the PT's. Maybe because of less paperwork, not having to worry about big student loan payments? Not too sure but the PTA's definitely made my shadowing alot more enjoyable and were more helpful and willing to answer questions than the PTs.
  5. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    There were several PTA's in my PA program. the hours definitely count as hce and those guys were way ahead on the musculoskeletal stuff.
  6. jgold72288

    jgold72288

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    No doubt PA is a great career as well, but be sure you're looking at the downsides of it as well. Some people are just naturally going to be the "grass-is-always-greener" types. Not saying their concerns aren't legit, just that I've heard a similar amount of PAs wishing they had gone PT. If you're concerned about the income-to-debt ratio, try to find a public school with cardinal directions and/or the word "state" in the title, e.g. "Southwest Arizona State" or something. They generally have a more reasonable tuition minus the sometimes ridiculous standards of leviathan 40k+ student type state universities (Ohio State, Texas, etc). If you look for newer programs the tuition may be lower as well. It may take an afternoon of time or so, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem to find schools with programs that cost ~50k for the whole thing.

    As to your concerns about not liking every setting of physical therapy, just remember that you don't have to. If you like, say, outpatient ortho then you never have to set foot in any other setting. Just do what you like.
  7. TooCool

    TooCool

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    Thanks for the insight guys :)

    I have been looking at State schools here in Cali and never even thought about applying to private schools cause I know they are too pricy but the state of Cali is so broke, and the state schools have increased their tuition 12% and I wont be surprised if they increase it again. So now it will be about 70-80k for the State schools

    And I will definitely shadow some PA's. I wanna start working sooner and not go into too much debt doing that. So right now going the PTA route is 'safer' and I can do that for some time and save $ to pursue PT or PA

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