Physical Therapy vs. Athletic Training

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Apr 17, 2008
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I am currently a Sophmore in college and I am debating whether or not to enter into the program at my school for Athletic training. I am currently Pre-PT and my gpa is not so good after a very rocky freshman year. Several family issues and relationship issues came up and so my gpa is not as good as it would need to be to get into PT school, even though I know I can raise it, I still cannot decide if I want to go through that much more school. My gpa right now is 2.75 and will hopefully be a 2.81 before the end of the summer (summer courses). Next fall I will take the intro class that I need to apply for the seperate program, but I am just wondering if anybody thought this was a good idea or not. If I did get into the AT program, and still took the Pre-PT courses, which would fit in just fine, I could go to PT school after working for awhile in AT. Does anybody know how AT job market is, or salary range? I know I can find it on the internet, but I am just wanting a perspective from actual people. Thank you for helping me!


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All PT schools that I know of count heavily on prerequisite GPA. Depending on what schools you apply to, some only count the last 60 units for cummulative GPA. It is totally possible to raise it up high enough to be competitive for PT schools by the time you graduate. For AT you need many of the same prerequisites for PT anyways (if I remember correctly). If you want something bad enough it is possible to recover from a bad year.

I had a bad year and got into all 4 PT schools I applied to. Good luck!
My first question: will you be entering the fall semester as a sophmore or junior? That answer will make a difference in the time you have to make up for your science gpa.
As for the athletic training major there are several factors to consider. Right now I'm in my senior year double majoring in athletic training and pre-physical therapy. I will be staying an extra year in school because athletic training is a 3 year program and I added it the end of my sophmore year.
If you want to work in athletics then doing a double major will open many more options for you in the sports division. However the required clinical hours for athletic training are intense. if you are already struggling with your PPT courses, it may not be wise to add on a major that requires a vast amount of your time.
If you feel you can handle the workload, however, the benefits are great. As an athletic training major, you will get a head start in comparison with your peers who are simply following the PPT track (chem, bio, physics, etc). You're going to gain invaluable experience and have oppurtunities to work with collegiate teams and depending on your school even professional sports teams.
I personally have volunteered at a clinic that worked with the Heat, Dolphins, and Marlins and it is a great networking oppurtunity. What matters most in the end is not your grades but who you know in the industry you wish to work in. Start building these contacts in addition to your GPA and the possibilities will be endless.
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Going into this fall I will be a Sophmore. I hopefully one day want to help soldiers who are returning from Iraq or are in training, but I want to do the work as a civilian. Thank you for helping me. It would only take me one extra semester to finish the Athletic training program. I figured that if I completed the Athletic training program, I could work for a year, and then apply to PT school, to not only gain experience, but to also earn some money. I am attending a Liberal Arts school, so I didn't know if anybody knew if this would help my chances of getting into a PT school either? The workload is pretty intense, just because of all the classes that we have to take, but I like it. Anyway, thanks for your help, and if you all have anymore suggestions let me know!
does anybody know how hard it would be to do a DPT/ATC having already having a Bachelors in science. Is it people to work as a DPT while getting an ATC?
In terms of a graduating from a liberal arts college helping your PT chances, the answer is not simply yes or no. I just graduated from a highly ranked liberal arts school and was accepted to 3 of the 4 PT schools I applied to. However, I know many friends who applied to med school or vet school who didn't get in, even with high GPAs and decent test scores. From my personal experience and knowledge from friends, the closer to your liberal arts school you apply (as in PT school) the more knowledge they will have of your school and the better possible chance you have to be accepted. Again, this might not be as thoroughly tested as you might have hoped.

I am a huge advocate of liberal arts colleges. I came out so much more well-rounded than I would have elsewhere. I feel this will be one huge advantage as I enter school and a career. A liberal arts degree is an advantage on this level for sure.
I'm gonna be a sophomore and am in a six year dual degree program ATC/DPT. It's not tooo bad in that a lot of the prereqs overlap with athletic training, but the time commitment is more than something to be overlooked and I really just don't like athletic training haha.. It's far from as glamorous or as cool as it sounds. I'm basically doing it because I can instead of just being in the six year DPT.