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MD to DPT - Crazy or best idea EVER?!

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by SeaBreeze12, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. SeaBreeze12

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    I am about to finish my 1st year of medical school and I am having doubts on whether or not I want to continue. Both of my parents are doctors and I am starting to wonder if me going to medical school is something I wanted or something I did to make them happy. I enjoy biological sciences and patient contact so I know I want to work in the healthcare field, but I am not sure if I have the stamina to become an allopathic physician. I also am worried that becoming a doctor is not going to allow me enough time with the family I hope to have one day. I never really considered doing anything else as an undergrad until it looked like I wasn’t going to get to medical school after I graduated last spring. (I know I should have thought about it sooner!) I started looking into going into physical therapy, did some volunteer work at an out patient PT clinic and realized that field might be a better fit for me (I understand it to be a field that has less stress and more flexible hours than a physician). Well I did get accepted to medical school and I have since done well in all my classes, I like the people in my class, and I like what tiny bit of patient contact I have had, but I just don’t know if this is the right path for me. I have started doing some serious research into making the switch to a DPT program. I guess I am posting this to get other people’s thoughts on the issue; what I should do right now, this summer off before my 2nd year, etc… (the other postings I have read on here have seemed to be quite insightful). So I guess my question is do I stick it out and see if this is what I really want, or get out while I still can! :confused: :scared:
     
  2. dubpt

    dubpt Junior Member
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    I am a PT with my DPT degree and I have been in practice for 2 years. I enjoy working as a PT, but you have to seriously look at the potential debt to income ratio of earning a DPT, especially from a private school.

    PTs are coming out of school with 70-150k in debt with expected starting salaries in the 50-60K range to pay back those loans.

    I have a nice debt load to repay and am now considering applying to PA or med school. While in PT school I realized that practicing medicine and being involved in performing surgery is where my true interest lie.

    Obtaining the cheapest education in PT as possible is the way to go (MPT or less expensive DPT). If you chose one of the few MPT programs around, you could always get your transitional DPT afterwards putting you in a more financially sound situation.

    Good luck with your decision

    warren
     
  3. Skialta

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    I would wait it out, there are a lot of careers within medicine which can offer you flexability or at least good office hours (gas, derm, anesthesia, PMR, etc). Right now you have the choice of a multitude of specialties, PT offers choices but it is far more limiting in my opinion. I was a PT and after practicing for six years went to medical school. I think PT is more volatile of a career than medicine, the AMA has far stronger lobbying power than the APTA when looking at issues that affect reimbursement. I hate to say it, but it is easier to take a hit on payment when you make 160K + vs 50-60K.
     
  4. Charles

    Charles Junior Member
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    Definitely stay in med school. You can chose a 'lifestyle specialty' such as Rehab medicine (especially if you think you're interested in physical therapy), and make 200K without really trying, and much more if you want. Most PT's will never come close to that. The residency after med school is basically 8-5, and your residency salary is only slightly less than what you'd be making as a PT. You would be crazy to make the switch.
     
  5. Shah_Patel_PT

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I am a PT turned MD (15 days remaining).

    You would be crazy to do the reverse!
     
  6. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member
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    Do NOT drop out of medical school to go for your DPT. There are plenty of fields in medicine that allow for ample free time. In my opinion, the salary potential of a DPT absolutely does not justify the number of years spent in education. You'll be in school almost as long to do your DPT as you would for medical school.

    If lifestyle is what you want, study hard and go for derm. Other lifestyle fields include pathology, PM&R, family medicine (depending on how you set up your practice - it can be a lifestyle field believe it or not), ER (if you don't mind shift work and stress when you ARE at work). Anesthesia and radiology are becoming less lifestyle friendly. If you are interested in outpatient PT I cannot stress looking into PM&R enough. It is not terribly competitive at the present time, although it is getting more competitive. It would allow you to work in the same fields as you would in PT except that you are obviously a physician. If you are interested in manual therapy and other PT like treatments that can easily be incorporated into a musculoskeletal PM&R practice.

    PM&R is VERY lifestyle friendly. And the good news is demand for PM&R will continue to increase as the population gets older.
     
  7. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    You do have to realize that this site and most of the posters are a little biased toward becoming an MD. Just a thought.
     
  8. Shah_Patel_PT

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    all the posters so far are prior PTs...so they have experienced both worlds....so the bias may actually give a true picture of both professions.
     

  9. I was interested in PT who is now very interested in PM&R, I am curious to know if anyone knows if there are many outpatient jobs as a physiatrist. I know that there are outpatient jobs but would it be very hard to find one if I didn't want to spend more time in the hospital after residency? Also is the lifestyle really what people say it is? I mean I guess you don't have call, but is the reason they don't have a lot of hours because they don't have a lot of patients?
     

  10. I was interested in PT who is now very interested in PM&R, I am curious to know if anyone knows if there are many outpatient jobs as a physiatrist. I know that there are outpatient jobs but would it be very hard to find one if I didn't want to spend more time in the hospital after residency? Also is the lifestyle really what people say it is? I mean I guess you don't have call, but is the reason they don't have a lot of hours because they don't have a lot of patients? Anyone know if professional and college teams hire Physiatrists?
     
  11. DocWagner

    DocWagner Senior Member
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    Physiatry is a SWEET practice. If I wasn't in Emergency Medicine, I would have chosen that route.

    oh but there are the chronic pain patients...blech.

    My advice to teh initial poster is to continue in Medical School, if you drop out, there will be a time in which you wish you hadn't. You will sorely regret it.
     
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  12. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...
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    I'm also moving from PT to MD. Please stay the course. PT is a great field, but you've got a world of opportunity in med school.
     
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  13. axm397

    axm397 SDN Moderator
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    Take the summer before your 2nd year to shadow physicians in various fields and therapists. Would recommend spending time with a Physiatrist if you want a related field in medicine. we don't do a lot of the hands on therapy but we are familiar with therapy lingo and some outpatient Physiatrists give their patients a real rudimentary home exercise program until they can get in to see a therapist. We work very closely with therapists and I think we have mutual respect for each other. As a 1st year or even as a 2nd year medical student, it's hard to understand the reality of the lifestyle/time committment issue. I worked 80+ hrs/wk as an intern, but now probably average about 45-50 hrs/wk as a PGY3 in PM&R. I have PLENTY of time to spend w my family and friends and definitely have a life outside of medicine.

    Lifestyle in medicine is what you make of it. If you want to work part time, you can. If you are doing well in your classes and get along well with your classmates, would highly recommend staying in school. You already have one year worth of debt +/- college, right? :laugh: plus, you just got through one of the hardest year in medicine.
     
  14. mac_kin

    mac_kin Senior Member
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    As an MD your options are pretty much limitless. You can go into rehab sciences or cardiac rehab, which are very similar to what PTs do in their clinics. I applied to both MD and PT because I fear that my GPA may not get me into MD this time around. However, I've done extensive research on both and MD offers many more opportunities. One of my profs in undergrad was actually an MD who became involved in Cardiac rehab. So basically he enjoys the same hours/lifestyle that a PT in a cardiac rehab clinic would have. However, since he is an MD he has higher credentials and makes more money, and has more power to receive research funding etc.

    He always stressed that if given the chance do your MD. Even if you don't practice as a doctor after, the title alone gives you much more options and a higher status. You can always open a rehab clinic as an MD.

    Also, if you are concerned with costs and time to get your DPT, look into Canadian schools. Most are only 2 years in length and costs are not as heavy.
    Good luck!
     
  15. medicineman1

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    So out of curiousity why did you choose ER over PM&R? Oddly enough these were my two interests- and even though I've chosen my pathway I still think I'd be happy in both fields.
     
  16. riograndegal

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    You are not crazy, I am considering doing the same thing. I was in my first year of med school and I had and A was doing great, but it didn't feel right. I am now considering going to PT school. I think I will be so much happier. Don't worry about the money or the idea of being a doctor, do what will make you happy
     
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  17. uneditedtales

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    Let me start off by saying, as a 3rd yr physical therapy student, I am completely biased.
    I always wanted to go to med school but decided I wanted a family more. Ironically, I am dating a med student and I have to tell you, our lifestyles are completely different. Please don't get me wrong, I am sure there are tonnes of doctors that have time for their families but you would be naive to think that the whole 5+ yr med shcool process is anything close to being easy. Anyway, my point is that you should make a list of pros and cons for both professions and see what you truly think. While being a PT might not really satisfy the financial aspect, you might find yourself with a set 40 hr/week schedule and time off guaranteed on weekends and much less stress. Good luck.
     
  18. PTapp

    PTapp DPT
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    To the original poster,

    Do what you think is best for you. Ultimately all MDs will put the money factor into the equation, however I did not base my decision solely on money when I decided to go to the PT school. It is unbeliavable how some posters are talking about the endless opportunuties you'd get as an MD and nothing as a PT. Wow to that!
     
  19. blogphage

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    I was a med student but switched to PT, I dont know if I am regret or not.
    I enjoyed the working schedule: no calls, no nights,

    but I have to admit that pt salary sucks.
     
  20. Integralpix

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    Can you elaborate on this? Suggest some decent schools? Can a student of Canadian education easily become licensed in the U.S.?
     
  21. JESUITM

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    To the original poster:

    Sharing my personal experiences with you...

    I was destined for medical school. I took the mcat (did pretty well on it--got a 30, decent to get in somewhere), worked in a hospital for 2 years... etc. My issue is that I lost interest, mainly stamina. As I approached senior year of college, the 8 more years (med + resid) of complete mental strain was less and less appealing. I worked a year after graduation to figure things out. I realized that I DID belonged in healthcare, but still was not excited about the length. So I started exploring healthcare careers that are rewarding and all that jazz, but had a comfortable stress/intensity level (both during and post graduation). There are plenty.

    So unlike a lot of pre-MD/MDs in here that are telling you "just do it," you should ask youself what your risk appetite is (what if you go though 4 years of school, and don't land the residency that you want--which is happening to some friends of mine right now) and what's your stess appetite. Do you still have the stamina? Are you pooped out??

    There are plenty of autonomous healthcare professions that still give you an amazing life (financially, personally, professionally, etc) while still doing great things for society. So think long and hard about it. I really don't think you can make a wrong decision, especially if you stick with healthcare. If money isn't your drive, you especially need to think about things. From my research, PTs make great money, enough to live comfortably that is, unlike say a social worker who makes $30-40K.

    Telling you "just do it" is not going to really solve your dimllema.

    Good luck and keep us posted! :thumbup:
     
  22. bipolardoc

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    wondering if this thread is even true. OP never came back and just started this thread. personally I never heard of anyone making the switch, especially after starting or completing any years of Med school. I heard of MD to DDS or MD to law, but not MD to DPT, a career about 1/3 of the salary. By the way, personally, if I wanted to make the drop for hours/family life, I would do DDS, comparible salary, sky is the limit for advances, still a doctor, and isnt much harder than a DPT and just one year extra!
     
  23. meister

    meister Senior Member
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    Yikes I can't believe how expensive PT school is. A salary of $50k/year does not justify going $150k in debt, just simple economics. You'd be paying that back for decades. I would definitely just go PM&R.
     
  24. PT Pete

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    I am pre-PT and work as an assistant in a very busy (400 pts./week) chiropractic office. Tons of families recieve help here for far ranging health issues. The doctor even helps RN's and some MD's not only with musculo-skeletal maladies, but with other general health issues too. he holds a very healthy rapore with the medical community. It's a blast here! Every month a health talk forum is held, where everyone is encouraged to ask, discuss, and pass on information. So MD to PT, perhaps you can look into MD to DC? I visited Life Universities School for Chiropractic in Marietta, GA. with the doctor. He atternded here, the largest and most modern school in the world for chiropractic. The curriculum is very similar to medical school but approx. 300 more hours, mainly in diagnosis, pathology, and anatomy and physiology. We met with MD's, DC's, DPM, PHD's, even PT's that instruct or attend. Chiropractic is multifaceted, not just musculo-skeletal. Though I am content to maintain a PT course, perhaps consider chiropractic? Best to you otherwise, and good luck on your endeavors.
     
  25. jbizzle

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    Hey where are you anyway????? My friend is going from PT to Nursing. She says she cant handle it.

    Have you seen Office Space?????

    What would you do if you had a million dollars (which obviously an MD will get you in a few years)? Hell, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do S**t.

    Think of it what you really like to do then do it. Go run across the country or something. You like video games, be a video game tester. You like to cook, go to culinary school. You want to start a family, marry rich then you can spend all the time in the world with them.

    I'm PT all the way...if I can ever get accepted. I actually wanted to be a doctor and a pharmacist (also an NBA player but thats a different story) but I dont think I was doing it for the right reasons. The money.

    This really is a hard decision isn't it.

    There are kids in undergrad struggling to get into med school and here you are, already in trying to get out. You probably wouldn't even need a loan since both parents are MDs. You said that you did it to make your parents happy????? Have you talked to your parents about this??? They are the best source of direction. Im sure they'll point you in the right way.
     
  26. dg1984

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    Nearly every thread on this site is significantly MD/DO bias. Honestly, I am wondering if people go to Med School to brag about themselves on SDN. It seems the PT to MD people chose 8 extra years of schooling/residency to puff out their chest to undergrads researching schools online and look down upon all other health care professions. Sick life guys.

    Anyways, I am completing my 2nd year of a great DPT program. PT is incredible. Our research speaks for itself and it is only getting better. I really don’t care too much about the money because I love what I am doing. I know I will make enough to get by and enjoy my life.

    Here are the real numbers on PT salaries
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm

    I think there are a lot of young undergrads deciding their future with a completely bias point of view. Also, many of the PT to MD type posters did NOT complete a DPT program which regardless of what anyone says IS a giant step up. Talking with some professors and older PTs who completed the MPT and BS programs, they are in awe of what is required of us on a daily basis. I don't think the DPT will change much in the medical community; however, I know for a fact I will be a better PT graduating in 2012 with a DPT than I would if I graduated in 1995 with an MPT. Bottom line: That is why the DPT is there.

    As for your question, that is a tough choice only you can make. I think if you have already gotten through a year of medical school you should at least stick with it a little longer. You will make more money and my impression of school was worst in the first year. In PT school I got tons of anatomy, biomechanics, electrophysiology, neuroscience, pharm and did not have a lot hands on experience. My impression of school is much different in my second year as I began to get my feet wet. Maybe something will spark your interest the second year or on rotations in your third and fourth year!!

    Good luck
     
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  27. goyo1010

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    Just wondering OP. Have you graduate med school or did you swith to DPT? You post was from 2007. And I have no idea why I'm posting here as the OP hasn't even responded even once. And I do agree with some posters on here, jbizzle and dg1984.
     
  28. dg1984

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    Wow...didn't realize the original post was so long ago. Sorry my comments are probably not useful here.
     
  29. rcheeley

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    Ignore my original post. Just realized how old this thing is.

     
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  30. Danae00

    Danae00 Away from Boards...
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    Edited to Add: HA! Didn't see this was such an old thread. Whoops :)


    What a difficult decision you are facing. I'm wishing you the best of luck!

    To drop out of med school is a pretty big deal. From what I understand there really is no going back. So make sure you don't take this decision lightly. If there is a chance you might be happy with medicine I'd almost say to stick it out.

    That said, there is no way I'd want to be an MD. The itself job doesn't interest me at all, and then you add in the amount of schooling, the work hours, the classmates (sorry, know too many crazy med students! heh) ... no thank you! A PT on the other hand is everything I love about the health care field. I love this field so much it's silly. I know it's what I want to do.

    So there is a big difference between fields and they do appeal to different people. I don't think it's crazy that someone might want to go from MD to PT.

    But do you really want to be a PT? Or do you want to be an MD with less stress and fewer hours?
     
  31. BouncingBack

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    Do they take people that did not finish med school?
     
  32. Yannined08

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    Hey all! So I've been contemplating the decision to go to MD school, however, I'm concerned that I'd just be doing it for the prestige, not for the job duties. I love making a difference with people, working in teams, working together to achieving something big. I am also interested in lifestyle medicine, non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive techniques; in general preventative medicine. Holistic approach to healing. This is why I am considering the DPT program. My dream is a transformed society where everyone is eating healthy, exercising, thriving, and on this earth being and doing exactly what they are meant here to do. I have a big heart, big dreams, and I'm here to cause big transformations on the planet. I imagine a world without sickness, pain, obesity, depression, or hunger. Anyone have any suggestions for the program I should enter? By the looks of it, I may have to create my own program and invent something that doesn't already exist. I have a bioengineering degree, but I want to work directly with people to make a difference in the health arena. Its been 8 years since I graduated undergrad and I have a lot of experience in prosthetic designs and accelerometers for measuring joint angles. But I hate it!
     
  33. jblil

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    Yes - priesthood.

    Seriously, you should shadow a few PTs and see if you'd really like the day-to-day work. Have you looked into using 3D-printing to make customized prostheses? I shadowed a prosthetist last summer and found the current molding/fitting process to be quite laborious. I am an engineer myself.
     
  34. DesertPT

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    What?
     
  35. NewTestament

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    Today is Easter after all.

    If you can get into the 3D printing industry, do it. 3d printing (or additive manufacturing) is going to be a big deal in the next 10-15 years.
     
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  36. Yannined08

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    I like the challenge of engineering, it just doesn't allow the kind of people interaction, nurturing and sports, aspect I would like.

    I mean I don't know if there is a school program out there that fits all my desires. Definitely not in the job market with my current experience and education.

    We do 3D printing where I am now, but not really interested in it. My desires are to work in sports, use my intellect, and nurture people. Any ideas?
     
  37. DesertPT

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    Go backpacking through Europe and "find yourself"?? Idk man, what you are saying is a little out there for me.
     
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  38. Yannined08

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    Already did that for 8.5 months in 2008 and '09 ;)
     
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  39. DesertPT

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    lol not surprised
     
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  40. NewTestament

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    Start an eco-village somewhere. At some point you have to make up your mind! Every choice you make is going to have disadvantages and advantages.
     
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  41. okramango

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    You certainly can contribute towards transforming society by working in a health field (or many other fields, too). One thing about PT that you might enjoy is that we spend a lot more time with people than many other health professionals, such as MDs. Don't expect PT school itself to teach a lot in terms of "holistic approach to healing", but it's great for learning non-invasive ways to treat many conditions and for preventative care. You can truly touch lives in this field. Your picture of why you are here won't be covered just by a health profession program, but becoming a PT (or whatever career you choose) can be a step towards your vision. It's a very flexible career and you can do a lot with it. Life is what you make it. Good luck! (PS - I spent a good part of my twenties backpacking around the world, too :) )
     
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  42. DesertPT

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    I've always been curious how people finance this. I've always had to have a job. How do people afford to go off "finding themselves" for months and years on end? Not saying it's wrong, I'm just curious.
     
  43. jblil

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    In my case, I worked for a volunteer organization that paid a princely stipend of $800/mo. However I was in a place where I couldn't spend it, so I banked pretty much all of it.
     
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  44. okramango

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    In my case, I pretty much would get jobs and then quit after I saved up for the next trip. I barely owned anything at the time, lived in co-ops, traveled super cheap, joined volunteer organizations, etc. I wasn't at all concerned about a career at the time.
     
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  45. NewTestament

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    You will be introduced to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) but you won't learn much else. You don't need to. It's not evidenced-based. PT is. In med school, you will learn about two weapons: medicine and surgery. In PT school you will learn how to treat patients without medicine and surgery.

    There's a lot of pessimism about PT on this forum, especially about the cost of education. But you can work anywhere as a PT, earn a good salary, work 30-50 hours a week, and be satisfied with your job. There aren't too many professions that can say that.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
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  46. DesertPT

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    Thanks NT. I was just thinking something similar to this today actually. For all the talk about salary issues with PT we have one here, I've decided that there's nothing wrong with being someone who gets to be more or less an 8-5'r making 35-40 bucks an hour in a rewarding and stimulating profession, all while enjoying higher than average job security and limited work stress. That's something the vast majority of the world's population would be very grateful for, even if it did mean student loan payments for 10 years after school.
     
    #46 DesertPT, Apr 6, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
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  47. Yannined08

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    Thanks guys for all your responses. I do want to learn how to treat non-invasively and without pills. And I want to learn evidence-based strategies vs. hocus pocus healing type of stuff. If I'm gonna pay to learn, I want it to be the best education I can get, and reputable. Above all, I want to truly heal, and make a difference with others. Rather than just "treat" symptoms. Figuring out the "why" something is happening is really powerful because with instruction it can foster lifestyle/functionality changes that can prevent further injury, and strengthen/improve performance and well-being. I'd love to focus on preventative medicine too! How to workout properly to avoid injury, etc. Being injured is no fun. How to monetize the preventative techniques/and is there evidence based preventative training methods?

    I've been volunteering at PT office and its pretty cool. I love the team atmosphere and the physical activity and evaluating and treating patients. It makes me super happy to see people smile and improve/feel better. I still want to shadow a few PM&R docs and sports medicine docs too. I don't wanna sell myself short by doing PT. I know I'm smart enough to do anything. I'm just trying to figure out what I'll enjoy doing day to day. I LOVE the people aspect. I wanna make money and contribute to others, transform them, love them, inspire them to connect to a higher universal purpose, and have them fulfilling on their purpose/dreams in life.
     
  48. DesertPT

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    If you think you're too smart for PT, we'd all rather you didn't do it.
     
  49. Yannined08

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    I'm trying to garner some meaning from what you're saying. Honestly, being smart is something my parents tell me when I talk to them. I do like complicated things but more importantly I wanna use my knowledge to help others. And surround myself with people who I relate to. My 'clan.' I think PT gives me a healthy lifestyle too. So far I relate to PT's and less with doctors. I don't like narcissistic people and I consider myself no more or less important than any other human being. I'm focused on finding my clan and doing what's going to fulfill me day in and day out. I'm observing these professions to evaluate based on this perspective and living in their shoes.
     
  50. aaronlp88

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    @Yannined08

    There are many PT students and physical therapists who are smart enough to become physicians. There are many nurses, social workers, engineers, chefs, and stay-at-home parents who are smart enough to become physicians. Yet, they were smart enough to pick something to do the rest of their lives that would make them happy.

    Choosing a career (no matter what it is) you are genuinely passionate about is not "selling yourself short;" choosing a career for the money and prestige is.
     

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