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PT vs OT?

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by getmoving, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. getmoving

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    Hi all,
    I would welcome your advice. Here's my situation:
    In 2009, I began a graduate PT program. I personally had extensive experience as a PT patient and was attracted to a profession that combined healing, helping people and promoting active, healthy lifestyles. As a personal trainer too, PT seemed like a logical progression of my professional and personal interests. However, I was completely unprepared for the demands of the program. I attribute this to:

    1) the fact that I was not a science major (or kinesiology major) and so I came into the program with a disadvantage. Even though I had a fundamental knowledge of anatomy/biomechanics etc as a personal trainer, there is no comparison between what a personal trainer needs to know and what a PT needs to know. Just about all the other students had science/kinesiology degrees and therefore, they were breezing through the material when I was struggling every day to keep up.

    2) I have an equal interest in the psychology of rehab in addition to physical rehab and clearly PT is all about physical rehab (at least in the education of a PT)

    While I was struggling in my 1st semester of PT school, I began learning about OT and how it integrates a lot of psych rehab with physical rehab. I began talking to OT students, OT faculty, I shadowed several OT's in various work places too. I decided to withdraw from PT school as it was not getting any easier for me. My intention was to regroup and then either reapply to PT school when I felt better prepared academically or learn more about OT and then apply to OT school.

    To that end, I've: 1) I'm in my 2nd semester of undergraduate anatomy and physiology (which I didn't have when I went to PT school initially). I love the material and find it very interesting, and feel that if I reapply to PT school, my current courses might well give me the confidence to handle the PT science based curriculum I couldn't handle before

    2) I've also explored more about OT, spoken to more OT's visited more OT's etc.- and the various modalities within the profession. The psych component of OT rehab is a draw here.

    My dilemma: 1) I find that OT doesn't directly incorporate my passion for physical fitness, weight training and rehab through exercise, nutrition, etc. yet, I appreciate the more "human" element to OT rehab compared to PT.

    In the end, I am thinking of applying both to PT and OT schools for next year. I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this situation and if so, I'd welcome your thoughts and experiences. Sorry for the long posting. Thanks to anyone who replies and good luck to all.
     
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  3. DesertPT

    5+ Year Member

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    You got into a PT school without having ever taken A&P? What the heck...

    Have you shadowed in an inpatient rehab unit...in some settings like this there can be quite a bit of crossover between what the PTs and OTs do....I think it sounds like you are more drawn to OT, but you are probably right that PT school will teach you a bit more about the physiology and biomechanics of the body overall especially as it relates to strengthening and exercise... and keep in mind that PT is a very "human" profession too, just depends how you look at it...I would say if you've shadowed multiple PTs and OTs, both in an inpatient and outpatient setting, you just have to ask yourself which you would see yourself enjoying more if you had to do it every day for the next 40 years...
     
  4. getmoving

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    Thanks knj27,
    Yes, in fact, I spent over a year volunteering in the gym of a rehab facility and I loved it which is what motivated me to apply to PT school.
    The school I was accepted to looks to admit a wide range of students, not just those with science backgrounds. Unfortunately, that meant I came in at a disadvantage. Thanks for your feedback. i appreciated it. good luck to you!
    Lorne
     
  5. DesertPT

    5+ Year Member

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    I wasn't surprised that you didn't have a science background, I was surprised that there are PT schools that don't have A&P as a prereq.
     
  6. NewTestament

    7+ Year Member

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    What school doesn't require A&P as a pre-requisite?

    You can apply to the University of Saint Augustine's flex program. That way you can be OT-R and DPT. It'll take you 10 trimesters to do it but if that's what you want, then do it.

    Otherwise, you will have to make a critical choice. You like aspects of PT and OT. Either way, I think you will be happy. You cannot have everything. Everyone makes a sacrifice when they choose a career. There is no perfect career.
     

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