Any PT's who started out as a PTA or PTA's thinking of becoming a PT??

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by jay310, Aug 22, 2010.

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  1. jay310

    jay310

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    Aug 22, 2010
    I am planning to apply for a PTA program at a cc and I was wondering if there are any PT's here who started out as a PTA or PTA's thinking of becoming a PT. The reason why I am asking is because I wanted to know how that went. I know there are only 2 bridge schools in the US and it is basically like starting from scratch. For the PT's, did you go to a bridge school or a basic PT school? PTA's, what are your plans?



    I graduated with a BS, BUT (keyword), I do not have the grades to get into a PT school and I just cant get in. I will have to take numerous amount of classes to reach the minimum requirements of many PT schools and that is still no guarantee I will get in. So, if I get an associates as a PTA, I can hopefully get a 3.0+ gpa and work as a PTA. This way, I can gain experience and save some money for PT school. Plus, some PT schools require students to have at least a 3.0 gpa in their last 60 credits and I can apply that from my PTA classes, as well as, additional classes that I need to meet the pre-reqs.



    So, I just wanna know PT's and PTA's opinions on their journey of becoming a PT. Also, I want to know if my plans are reasonable.
    Any comments are very much appreciated!
     
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  3. Hopein2010

    Hopein2010 DPT 5+ Year Member

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    Jun 10, 2010
    ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  4. jay310

    jay310

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    Aug 22, 2010
    thanks hopein,
    but i was wondering why u got a MS in kins...were you planning to head into another path in your career?
     
  5. Hopein2010

    Hopein2010 DPT 5+ Year Member

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    Jun 10, 2010
    There are actually a few reasons for the MS:

    -My BS is in Kines, and I still have an interest in it. It also helped me immensely as a clinician as far as advanced knowledge of musculoskeletal problems, special tests, and corrective exercise (certification)

    -There's no guarantee that I will ever get into PT school--I didn't want to waste any amount of time getting an advance degree pertaining to my career. If I am not accepted, I know that I still furthered myself by getting a graduate degree, so that I could be a better PTA.

    -With my not-so-hot undergrad GPA, I also wanted to let PT schools know that I had truly made an effort and a change academically and intellectually. A perk is that I did well and that will boost my GPA :)
     
  6. lee9786

    lee9786 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 3, 2009
    PTAs have been riding coattails for years off the success of PTs. Medicare sees PTAs as equals to PTs from a reimbursement standpoint. The ROI for a PTA degree is excellent considering the number of years it takes to be a PT. Also consider where you go to school. Many PTA programs are at community colleges so you could be looking at $100/ credit as opposed to $700/credit for PT school. Considering the demand for PT services, the lack of therapists, and lack of financial resources to pay for PT services, I only see the demand for PTAs skyrocketing through the roof. The PTAs will be the ones working with the patients and developing a rapport while the PT is stuck with the paperwork and chasing shrinking reimbursment dollars. I really don't see the PTAs going anywhere. As long as there is Medicare their will be PTAs. Now how long Medicare is going to be there is another story.
     
  7. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 3, 2009
    Waterloo, IL
    I know the clinic I work at is currently seeking PTA applicants part-time,full-time and PRN. I would think it's a booming profession because like you said it's fairly cheap to go to school for yet it makes decent money. I have considered going back and getting a PTA degree to go along with my athletic training degree just because it will help me with rehabilitation. It's MUCH cheaper than PT school yet I would be allowed to do much of the same things. Also, it would allow me to work better in the clinic outreach setting than just having the ATC credential since we can't reimburse through MediCare.
     
  8. lee9786

    lee9786 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 3, 2009
    I think this is the thought process for many that already have BS degrees. Instead of getting the prereqs needed for PT school and going that route, they have decided to go the PTA route. The way things are going now it looks like the PTs in this country are mostly going be coming from overseas. It kind of kills the concept of the DPT when foreign BS PTs are coming over and getting the job done. One foreign PT had a good chuckle when he heard how much I was looking to spend in both time and money to get this degree. Maybe the future of the field is domestic PTAs working for foreign PTs. It's kind of discouraging hearing PTAs saying they can do everything a PT can except the evaluation, discharge, and paperwork. It makes the PT degree a technicality where what you skills you can apply are directed by law and not by skill. If a two-year PTA grad can do everything a PT can do except the aforementioned, then they still have a unique skill that cost a whole lot less to get. I've thought about going the PTA route myself and I've spent the last two years post BS in school getting my prereqs for PT school accomplished. I'd say it's a big issue in the field when people that should be applying to PT school have opted out for the PTA route instead. I've been taking time off to sort this mess out before I make a commitment. There's way too much turbulence going on right now.
     
  9. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 3, 2009
    Waterloo, IL
    lee, I know what you're saying. At one time I considered PT school myself, but with the DPT and all there is just no way for me to justify it.

    As for the skills applied being based on law and not skill, that is already the case to some degree. Athletic Trainers are not allowed (or at least not commonly) to get reimbursed for our skills. We can do evaluations, rehabilitation, and return to play but since Medicare won't reimburse very few other insurances will.

    I feel like I have a fairly solid base with the athletic training degree now, but in a couple years I may feel the need for additional rehab skills?
     
  10. jesspt

    jesspt 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 31, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    This. Is. Ridiculous.
    You have nothing to support this other than your opinion. There is already a large US-trained physical therapist work force, and over a hundred PT schools with full classes that will be graduating a lot of PTs into the work force soon. You make it sound like these people will just disappear and that a massive influx of foreign-trained PTs is not only probable, but inevitable.

    It may be discouraging, but it is not entirely accurate. See the position statement from the American Physical Therapy Assocation and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists below:

    APTA-AAOMPT Position Statements on Interventions Exclusively Performed By Physical
    Therapists
    Note:
    AAOMPT adopted these APTA position statements as AAOMPT positions during the businesses
    meeting in Salt Lake, UT at the AAOMPT Annual Conference in 2005.

    PROCEDURAL INTERVENTIONS EXCLUSIVELY PERFORMED BY PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
    HOD 06-00-30-36 (Program 32)
    It is the position of the American Physical Therapy Association that:
    The physical therapist's scope of practice as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association Guide
    to Physical Therapist Practice includes interventions performed by physical therapists. These interventions
    include procedures performed exclusively by physical therapists and selected interventions that can be
    performed by the physical therapist assistant under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
    Interventions that require immediate and continuous examination and evaluation throughout the
    intervention are performed exclusively by the physical therapist. Such procedural interventions within the
    scope of physical therapist practice that are performed exclusively by the physical therapist include, but
    are not limited to, spinal and peripheral joint mobilization/manipulation, which are components of manual
    therapy, and sharp selective debridement, which is a component of wound management. (Program 32 -
    Practice, ext 3176)

    So those of you who are sitting on the PT/PTA fence and are interested in manual therapy or wound care may want to consider this. At this point, it may be legal for a PTA to perform these interventions, but as you can see, it is certainly not supported by the two most relevant professional organizations.

    Uncertainty in the medical fields is not new or uncommon. Shrinking reimburesement rates from third-party payors has been going on for decades. If you are waiting for a forecast of smooth sailing, well, let's just say that I wouldn't hold my breath. However, our profession has weathered storm before (such as the passing of the Balanced Budget Act by the Clinton administration) and has continued to prosper. I personally believe that there is a light at the end of this tunnel for therapists who are skilled, engaged in their profesional improvement and can demonstrate their worth to both their clients as well as their referral sources.
     
  11. lee9786

    lee9786 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 3, 2009
    Given the shortage of PTs, a 20 percent or so decrease in Medicare reimbursement due to SGR and MPPR, as well as an annual increase in tuition and costs of living, can't be a favorable formula for increasing the number of DPTs. As mentioned, many potential applicants are deciding that the PTA route is a better route than the DPT. What happens if all these cuts start going into affect? From what I gather, PT schools are already seeing a decrease in the number of applicants than they did back in the late ninties. You're right though all of this is just speculation of what may occur. The fact that foreign PTs can provide a supply of therapists to meet demand is something to look at. Just playing devils advocate. Too many people like to stick there heads in the sand and pretend nothing is going on. If nothing else, it got an educated response from a veteran PT providing objective information to a bunch of amateur pre-PTs. Thanks for the response and sorry I hit a nerve.

    While decreasing reimbursement rates have been going on for decades, this decade seems a bit more critical due to the projected failure date of Medicare in 2017 pre double-dip recession. Add the uncertainty of Healthcare reform, and things look even a little bit more unstable. Of course this is only my opinion. I really don't see how a mandate on health insurance is going to work in our society. Of course with all of the bologne going on, I will most likely still pursue the DPT route even if it means burying myself in a deep hole of debt because I think it's the best way I can utilize all this education I've been cramming in my brain for the past six years. So I guess bring on the collapse of Medicare and we'll see what happens.
     
  12. BlueBlue8

    BlueBlue8 5+ Year Member

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    Jun 25, 2010
    "
    ALERT: Exam registration for the PT and PTA exam has been suspended for graduates of Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani and Philippine programs."



    "
    The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) made a decision to suspend testing for all graduates of schools located in Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
    The announcement on the FSBPT Web site reads, “In response to pervasive, ongoing security breaches by significant numbers of graduates of physical therapy schools from certain foreign countries, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT or Federation) will suspend National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) testing for all graduates of schools located in those countries, pending the development of a separate, secure exam for those graduates (to be called the NPTE-YRLY). The affected individuals will include all graduates of physical therapy schools in Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.”


    I read another article which stated that these students cheating by sharing test questions, etc.



    Testing will resume in Fall 2011, but I thought this was pretty interesting.
     
  13. soccer31

    soccer31 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 22, 2008
    I would have to disagree with this and your opinion that foreign trained PTs are going to take over. From what I heard and people I talked to, the number of applicants has actually been still increasing in the last few years. As for the fact that some people are going the PTA route after getting their BS, would this be because of their option or because they could not get accepted to a DPT program? (I guess this was me playing devils advocate now....) Even if they are going that route because they want, I never heard of a DPT class not being filled out at any school! Well, just read around here the number of people on waiting lists.

    However, I do have to say that you have brought some interesting points in here and other threads about reimbursement. Unfortunately a lot of things about that topic that I have seen are just speculations, only future will tell us how things will turn out. It is interesting to note however what jesspt mentioned, that healthcare is constantly going through changes and it always gets through it.
     
  14. Hopein2010

    Hopein2010 DPT 5+ Year Member

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    Jun 10, 2010

    I actually didn't intend on going to PT school after my bachelor's, and I'm not ashamed to admit I couldn't even if I had wanted to, given my atrocious undergrad performance.

    It wasn't really until I had been in PTA school that I fell in love with Physical Therapy--and practicing in the field for years solidified my desire to become a PT.

    Maybe had I known how awesome the PT field is during my undergrad or high school years, I would have performed better in preparation for going to PT school directly after my BS. It was by chance that I got into PTA and found my passion for physical therapy. :thumbup:
     
  15. Athleticginger

    Athleticginger

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    Jul 26, 2017
    Thought I would reply to a seven year old thread to laugh about how wrong you were. I'm a PTA in Tampa and let me tell you, in my three years of working I've only met 3 actual American born PT's. Fourteen others are from India and the Philippines.
    So let me get this straight. I have to go in debt almost 100,000 to get a DPT, but an Indian can come over with a bachelor's and get paid the same and do the same?
    Sounds like the American Dream only applies to the ones who weren't born here.
     

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