jblil - You misinterpreted what Azraa was saying. It's inferred by his/her message that a "larger paycheck" comes from a dually credentialed DPT, ATC. Everyone knows the salary of an ATC. Whereas, with that, dually credentialed DPT, ATC, she should make on average 10k more when she graduates PT school (I have no formal citation outside of someone who was dually credentialed and worked as a PT).
Azraa - Clinical hours are hours of experience in evaluating, treating, rehabilitating orthopedic injuries in the athletic population. Additionally, she is learning these fundamentals in her athletic training classes which will help her tremendously in PT school and as a professional. While she is putting in many hours and "working herself to death," she is laying a foundation of knowledge and skills that puts any exercise science or biology major to shame.
Furthermore, while having a BS in AT does not mean she is more likely to get into PT school, it does mean that she will have the potential to be more successful in PT school, once/if she gets in. She still has to get a high GPA, GRE, and set herself apart.
Many practicing physical therapists that I have come into contact with have commented on the orthopedic knowledge and clinical skills of athletic training students. Also, of how they were miles ahead of everyone in A & P, biomechanics, and orthopedic classes in their PT class. However, they were on a level playing field with classmates when they encountered neuro, peds, and cardiopulm classes.
All in all, I believe it is definitely worth it in the end. It will be tougher. My freshman AT class had 100 people, and a 90% attrition rate by senior year. Only 2 people applied and received acceptance to their first choice physical therapy school (Disclaimer: although all of the things mentioned here are true, this post is, indeed, biased).