Romazicon

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Sep 5, 2014
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I have a question about those who apply to PT after not getting into Med School. Do any of you guys find this common? Do those who don't get into Med School end up apply to PT? I understand that those who apply to PT obviously have an interest in the career, but have you heard of anyone who has applied to PT just because Med School was out of their reach? Do you think this affects those who are fresh out of undergrad?
 

DesertPT

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Apr 22, 2013
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No, I would not say this is common. Very few PTs chose the career as an "if all else fails" backup to medicine.
 
Mar 21, 2014
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I haven't met or heard from anyone who was in this situation. I know a lot of people going with PT who were up in the air for a while between PA and PT, though.

For me, I never even considered med school because of the amount of time in school and the quality of life that comes with the profession. Too crazy and hectic for me, and I know many PT students feel the same way.

But even if I wanted to try to apply to med school I don't think I wouldn't get in.
 

engmedpt

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Mar 31, 2014
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I was that situation. My "stats" could get me DO 3.85 gpa, all the service, balanced student bs stuff that admissions want to hear ect. with one outstanding med prerec (mcat wouldnt be so pretty if i took it tho....things a monster. the final weedout), but your life is pretty rough on the other side of the fence, not to mention the competition that is increasingly growing over residency spots. 80 hr week residencies dont make you a better person imo. I just saw my sister as sleep deprived zombie pulling 30 hr shifts, being bossed around by attendings. The doc patient interaction I thought existed in medicine is actually in physical therapy, as well as lifestyle balance and observing tangible effects of your work over a period of time. being a people person nails it too because you spend more such a longer period with them. Never knew that until junior year because I was doing all the club stuff and reading the dense science. I shadowed a peds pt for a week who graduated, took a gap, discovered that the pt lifestyle and patient interaction was what she wanted and she went that route. 3.94 gpa as a biomedical science major (yeah she couldve gone med EASILY)......grades and gpas are grades and gpas. make sure to look over the other side of the fence and focus on the day to day rather than the title. pt was never a fallback, it was an alternative i found that was a much better fit for me personally. screw the 6 figure salary. comfortable lifestyle thats rewarding with MANAGEABLE stress is fine for me.
 
Mar 21, 2014
241
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Physical Therapy Student
I was that situation. My "stats" could get me DO 3.85 gpa, all the service, balanced student bs stuff that admissions want to hear ect. with one outstanding med prerec (mcat wouldnt be so pretty if i took it tho....things a monster. the final weedout), but your life is pretty rough on the other side of the fence, not to mention the competition that is increasingly growing over residency spots. 80 hr week residencies dont make you a better person imo. I just saw my sister as sleep deprived zombie pulling 30 hr shifts, being bossed around by attendings. The doc patient interaction I thought existed in medicine is actually in physical therapy, as well as lifestyle balance and observing tangible effects of your work over a period of time. being a people person nails it too because you spend more such a longer period with them. Never knew that until junior year because I was doing all the club stuff and reading the dense science. I shadowed a peds pt for a week who graduated, took a gap, discovered that the pt lifestyle and patient interaction was what she wanted and she went that route. 3.94 gpa as a biomedical science major (yeah she couldve gone med EASILY)......grades and gpas are grades and gpas. make sure to look over the other side of the fence and focus on the day to day rather than the title. pt was never a fallback, it was an alternative i found that was a much better fit for me personally. screw the 6 figure salary. comfortable lifestyle thats rewarding with MANAGEABLE stress is fine for me.
Literally everything you said is spot on. I shadowed a physician in family medicine for a while and got a feel for what both GPs and PAs do. The amount of times that patients were simply assessed and then passed on to specialists for treatment was maddening. The most hands on interaction I saw involved cleaning out an ear canal clogged by earwax.

That happened five times in one week.

I'd much rather do physical rehab over long periods of time with patients.

The amount of stress and time needed to get to get an MD, when looking at the payout on the other side, is not worth it for me.

The gap in salary is easily made up by the lifestyle of a physical therapist.
 
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twsurfsnow

PT, DPT, MPH
5+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2012
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Cooper City, FL
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Physical Therapy Student
I have a question about those who apply to PT after not getting into Med School. Do any of you guys find this common? Do those who don't get into Med School end up apply to PT? I understand that those who apply to PT obviously have an interest in the career, but have you heard of anyone who has applied to PT just because Med School was out of their reach? Do you think this affects those who are fresh out of undergrad?
Most people go podiatry (DPM) if MD/DO is out if their reach as it's easier to get into. I was originally pre-med and even took the MCAT, however I had no exposure to PT until I was in a pretty bad car accident. The rehab I went through showed me that it was more of the field for me and shadowing backed that up as well.


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DesertPT

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Apr 22, 2013
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I haven't met or heard from anyone who was in this situation. I know a lot of people going with PT who were up in the air for a while between PA and PT, though.
Ya I don't really hear of people using PT as a backup for med school, but I definitely think that PT is one of a number of non-physician healthcare careers that people oscillate between when they want to work in healthcare but don't want to go to med school. I was never interested in med school, but I did have brief periods of thinking I was going to be a pharmacist and a PA. I think the educational time/cost to earning potential ratio is what causes a lot of people to struggle to commit to PT, but now that I've been committed to that pathway I couldn't imagine changing to anything else!
 

Bluecase

2+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2014
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I don't think it is the case because there are fewer spots in PT because there are fewer schools (with much smaller class sizes) in our country. There is no Caribbean or DO option if MD is out of reach. Also, it is so cut-throat to get into PT school at this point if you haven't shown some sort of passion for it it would be harder to prove to an application committee that you are better than the 100 other people with 3.9's that have applied. If your essay read: "Well I couldn't get into med school but I have good grades.....and this is just a backup and not its own profession outright....." wouldn't even be worth a second glance in their eyes - there are too many qualified people who are passionate about the profession waiting for the coveted spots in schools.
 
Jun 17, 2014
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Pre-Physical Therapy
I don't think it is a backup in the sense of "I applied and couldn't get in to any med school, so now I will settle for being a PT." I think the decision to pursue PT comes before applying to grad school. But I think that those applying to DPT schools come from a variety of backgrounds including formerly being pre-med, pre-vet (my case), pre-PA, etc. As others have said, it is a conscious switch that people make once they realize how awesome PT is! ;)

And some might say that DPT schools are more selective than MD schools. Honestly, going to med school is my backup if I don't get into a DPT program that I like! I flip-flop a lot between MD and DPT...
 
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Romazicon

Romazicon

2+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2014
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Physical Therapist
Wow. Thank you for your input. I was talking to some friends who are applying to a DPT program and their fear (which made me fear it too) was that they wouldn't get in because of those who don't get into med school end up applying to PT. I knew that it wasn't all that true since it obviously makes sense that those who apply to be a PT have given it much more thought and dedication than those who "fail" (if I may) in getting into med school.

screw the 6 figure salary. comfortable lifestyle thats rewarding with MANAGEABLE stress is fine for me.
^^^^^^^ THIS

Good information. Have a great day.

Edit: Grammatical errors. [Mobile autocorrect]
 
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