Tuition of DPT school and doubts

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by mk187, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. mk187

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    I have been accepted to several schools for DPT, and I have NO undergrad debt.
    The school I selected is approximately 100k-120k for the 3 years.

    I love PT because I love learning about how the body works, i love knowing how to take care of your body and others bodies because everyone has one and you can help everyone you meet, I love exercising and getting rid of peoples pain, and I love problem solving and figuring out what the problem is. The patient interaction is also great, although as an introvert, if im tired it can be a real struggle for me.

    Anyway, I've been set on PT for the last 6 years and now Im ready to begin in August..but I'm having cold feet.
    120k debt, plus interest, for a career that pays ~70k starting out? I've worked so hard for this, and to only be making this much is kind of irritating to me. I KNOW its not ALL about the money, but I can't help but think how foolish this is! I am debt free right now... I am going to be paying off this loan for 10+ years. My boyfriend who is going to become a computer engineer will make 100,000+ his first year out of his Bacchelors with far less schooling than me, and I will have a doctorates?

    How do people justify this insane tuition prices? I dont want to live frugally for 10+ years.

    And another question; if I want to stay in PT realm, but make a lot more money, what other ways can I go? I love the type of stuff they teach us in DPT school. This focus is my passion. I need to make my passions work together. GUIDANCE PLEASE! (I know i know its not all about the money, but its foolish to write off my concerns just because of that. This is a lot of money were talking about here!) Thanks for those who are supportive!
     
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  3. TheDancingWriter

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    I'll probably be paying roughly 88-90,000 with the program I want to get into, but it'll be worth it for me because, for one, this is what I want to do with my life. It also helps that I'm married, and while I'll likely be making slightly more than my husband starting out as a PT, having his second income will make the debt less burdensome because I'm not just depending on my income to pay it off. So that's something to keep in mind if you and your boyfriend want to tie the knot later on down the line, assuming he'll have no monstrous student debt too.

    Without the boyfriend, however, yes, the debt will be burdensome. Since you've been accepted to others, I would honestly choose the one with the least debt, if that's even possible.

    Ultimately, only you will be able to decide if it's worth it or not. Others on here might tell you it's not and to go with something else, but if you can't see yourself doing anything else or being happy doing anything else and don't want to pursue PTA, I'd bite the bullet and just be frugal with my money upon graduation and landing a job.
     
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  4. kdubz7w7

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    Welllll......I am still paying off my AS, BS, and MS, and just started a program around 100k+. I had been working professionally in the fitness/exercise science field for about 15 years, had a successful career that I outgrew, kicked around about a billion other less time consuming and expensive options and came back to DPT every single time. It took a LOT of experience in the field to absolutely settle on DPT, despite the 3 years and incredible expense. Having had many jobs I grew bored of or disliked, I know better than most the value of a career that you are absolutely passionate about.
    I am not thrilled about the debt, nor am I thrilled about the salary, but I will not put a value on my happiness or peace of mind. And if you aren't irresponsible with money and live well within your means, you shouldn't exactly be living in a cardboard box. People making 100k out of school are the exception, not the norm - your boyfriend isn't a realistic example to compare yourself to and honestly 70k isn't shabby - plus they are totally different fields, different skill sets, different demands. My ex-boyfriend had no college degree and was making 80k repairing helicopters. Think 15, 20, 25 years from now too - by then, it will have been worth it. And the demand for DPTs is slated to grow- I think the $ opportunities will be there. There are threads on here detailing how DPTs make 100+ via travel, part-time PT weekend jobs...do a search.
    That's how I justify the tuition price, for myself. I was brought up in a very low-income household (hence my entire education sitting on my own shoulders and not my parents) - I know how to be careful with money and I am not afraid of it. It is not fun or comfortable, but that does not mean it is not doable.
    If you are not 100% sure, go work for a year or two or ten or whatever it takes. Perhaps you just haven't been around enough, seen enough, to have explored all options in order to ascertain that this is definitely what you want. It is a BIG decision and if you aren't sure, it does not hurt to put it off. Explore PA (one less year of school and they make way more money than us), PTA, personal trainer/massage therapy/ART type combo credentials......there is zero rush, as much as society seems to think you should be done with school by mid-20s...
     
  5. DPTTELl

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    You can make more than that starting out if you’re willing to be flexible.
    I have a friend that just graduated and started doing travel physical Theraphy. Her first contract is paying her $1680 per week and that’s what she takes home after taxes, so let’s say she keeps scoring contracts where she gets paid $1600 by the end of the year she would’ve made 83k net which means you’re technically earning a 6 figure salary before taxes. She also has a per diem job on the weekends where she gets paid $40 per hour. It is a sacrifice but you could easily pay your loans in 5 years if you’re willing to make sacrifices and live frugally for awhile.
    That’s what I plan on doing once I graduate. I am going to graduate with a little over 160k in student debt, thankfully my husband doesn’t have any student loans.
     
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  6. One Punch Man

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    So here's my input on the matter:

    I graduated undergrad with ~$22k USD in debt. I'm likely going to have another $120k USD taked on to that for PT school. Am I upset that I'm going to be nearly 150k USD in debt? Well it's certainly not something I'm looking forward to. Nevertheless, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to get into a career field that I would truly love.

    I'm currently working at a job where the pay is horrible and the work culture is toxic. If I had to work at this job until retirement, I would likely die earlier than my due time due to the overwhelming stress this job gives me. PT is a career in which I can see myself going into work everyday in an incredibly jovial mood. The fact that I'm going to have a positive contribution to society will also add to my mental well-being. To me, working in such a career field is priceless.

    I'm likely going to be working overtime for several years, as well as moving to a more rural area in order to get a 90-100k USD salary post-tax. During these years I'm going to be aggressively paying off my debt, and worse case scenario it would take me 5 years to fully pay it off.
     
    #5 One Punch Man, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  7. mk187

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    Thanks for your insight. Love my boyfriend, but I can't be thinking about him helping me pay off my debt as condolence because you never know, especially since we would have to be long distance for my duration of the program, so anything can happen but thats another story lol

    I want to go with PT... I know there is something else out that that would combine PT with something more monetary fulfilling, but I haven't figured out what it is yet. As you can tell from my post, Im already not liking the fact that my bf will make more money than I will :p so being a PTA is also out of the picture mainly due to pride issues LOL but lets me honest, I wouldnt be able to feel proud of myself if I stopped there.. I mean I already have a BA, finished all my prereqs, got into multiple schools,... I guess I have potential but idk where to put it all. I must sound vain. Sorry.
     
  8. mk187

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    That sounds like a lot of debt you have! Ive also played around with other careers/gigs, etc but found myself coming back to DPT as well (hence the 6 years process). I am assuming you are a DPT student now or applying?? My question for you is How do you know you will not grow bored or tired of DPT too? Im sure you didnt think you would be bored or tired of the other billion ideas you kicked around before...but it just happened. And if it happened with DPT you just lost a huge investment that will force you to go through with it anyway, right? I mean youre passionate about it, but how do you know when you're actually doing it you won't feel the same way? Maybe you will force yourself to like it more because of the huge time and money and effort investment you made...? Not picking on you or anything, but these are also the same questions I ask myself.

    I know PTs can make 100K doing weekend jobs etc, but then we are just working MORE for more money..which isnt something I want to do! I want to live my life and enjoy work and personal time, thats why the salary bugs me. Because to make more, I would have to trade my time for money.... instead of making more money with the same amount of time.

    **Anyone have any ideas on how we can make more money with the same amount of working hours!? I guess thats the subquestion of my post. I don't want to make 100k if I am working 6/7 days a week... I would have no life! I could do it for a few years out of school.. but that is not my first preference. IDEAS!!

    For me, I'm 26. I really don't want to put off starting my career any longer. I traveled, worked abroad, thought about PA...MD... and stuck to DPT. Being working in a restaurant during school and feeling like im living way beneath my potential. I want to do something big. I just feel like im missing a piece of my puzzle. There has to be a way to make it work!
     
  9. mk187

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    Thanks for your reply. That net value was a little more comforting to me. I have a question for you though.. if you want to do travel PT (something I think about too!) how are you going to maintain your relationship with your husband if youre moving all the time?? It seems hard to do if you have a S.O.
     
  10. mk187

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    How do you know it will take you 5 years to pay it off? I checked a calculator for a 150k debt in 10 years and it was like...1700 per month for 10 years to pay it all back (interest too) That's insane....

    Where do you get your financial advice? If anyone has resources on financing DPT. or a thread please send it!
     
  11. One Punch Man

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    Well after taxes, I'm planning on grossing at least 70k USD per year (keep in mind that I will be working overtime and living in a rural area where demand for medical professionals are high.) Moreover the benefit to living in a rural area is lower cost of living and increased pay. I'm also going to be living in a state without state tax. I already live pretty frugally, so I can survive on just 20k USD per year for rent, food, and other bills. I also am married so my rent is cut in half due to sharing the burden with my wife. So 70k - 20k = 50k per year that I can use for loan repayment. That's why I say it would take 5 years or less to pay it off; because I will be repaying it very aggressively.
     
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  12. DPTTELl

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    My husband works remotely so he would be able to go anywhere I go.

    70 to 80% of my salary will go towards my loans and we will make the sacrifice to live the same way we have been living the past few years with my husband’s salary until loans are paid off.
    I got financial advice from myself. I am very organized with money.
    Honestly I think you’re more concerned with money than anything else and I don’t blame you. It’s a huge investment! Why don’t you go for MD? Demand will always be high, tuition is probably way higher than DPT and you will be in school longer, but you will be making the amount of money you seem to want to earn.
     
    #11 DPTTELl, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  13. One Punch Man

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    You and I have the same mindset. It isn't too difficult to pay off these loans so long as you're living expenses are under 20k USD and using the rest to pay off your loans. Living in a remote area is optimal because there's less competition and higher demand for medical professionals. Also having a husband/wife definitely helps ease both the financial burden and the psychological burden of student loans ;)
     
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  14. mk187

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    Thought about it... Not interested in medicine. I think a lot of doctors don't really know what is good for people. Ive seen so much research and listened to leaders in the scientific research community advocate for different diets, lifestyles than the whole US is led to believe..
    I like how PT uses your body to heal yourself. A lot of doctors around me and my friends and family dont care about root causes and just prescribe medicine to fix problems that can be healed naturally or with self discipline. So I don't want to join that. I also like time with patients, getting to know them more, listening to them and helping them achieve their goals.. I dont want to go through the stress, pressure, and lack of school/work/life balance for med school, plus that would be like, 5 more years of school, plus residency, etc etc.. im already 26 and dreading the overnight study sessions i will have to be doing for DPT. I like to work hard and achieve things but I also like my sleep! My body doesnt work the same as it did when I pulled allnighters for undergrad lol
     
  15. DPTTELl

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    You are absolutely right! We have been living off my husband’s salary for the past two years while I completed my pre-requisites and observation hours. I had a part time job that would only bring about $1500 a month which we saved.
    Now we are about to relocate and thankfully my husband can keep his job since he works from home and for the next three years we will keep living the same way we have.

    I recently contacted a few new grads and I was surprised when I found out how many graduated with 200K+ in student debt. They don’t seem to be very concerned. They all scored good jobs. Many started traveling and one of them is making 1900 net every week working in a rural area in CA.That gave me peace of mind, since I was freaking out with the amount of debt I was about to acquire.

    I’m also thinking about doing the Loan Repayment Program which pays 40k In exchange of 2 years of service for the Indian health service. Whatever it takes to pay those loans. We will not be upgrading cars, having kids, going on vacations, or buying a house until those bad boys are gone!
     
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  17. kdubz7w7

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    Fair questions, so I will expand.
    All my degrees are exercise science. I am 38 years old and yes, I am a DPT student - second semester. I have worked in the ex sci/fitness/rehab field for 16 years. I've done personal training, strength & conditioning coaching, trainer in a PT clinic, college adjunct professor for 10 years, and for 4 years I had the unique career of creating and managing an injury prevention and care program for a large warehousing company. In other words, I have circled around PT on and off for 16 years. I was making a wonderful salary with the warehousing company but got promoted too many times - I was behind a desk more than I was working with people. I grew bored and I missed working with the injured associates. After a LOT of soul searching, I kept coming back to, what I loved more than anything in my entire career was helping injured people (to try to keep it succinct). I have a very clear vision of how I want to practice, and I have no doubts as to the possible boredom factor. Yes, the debt sucks, but being miserable and hating my job sucked way more. I've been quite broke but loved what I did, and I've been well compensated and absolutely miserable. FOR ME, I value my happiness more than money (to a point, of course. I don't mean I am going to live on a beach building sand castles). I've been unemployed and scraping for pennies (laid off), so the idea of simply living frugally to pay off loans really doesn't bother me that much. Yes, I am aware that taking on this debt while no longer in my 20s is even worse :) it is what it is.

    I have ALWAYS had more than one job, so having a weekend job also does not bother me. I think varying the settings I work in will stave off eventual boredom and keep things fresh and interesting. I also want to be cash-based for whatever practice I do on my own.
     
  18. DPTTELl

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    More power to you!!! I’m 30 years old and I’m starting PT school this fall. I’ve been in the banking field as an analyst making about 60k a year and although I didn’t completely hate my job it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Being behind a desk 8 hrs a day is not fun, so I decided to follow my heart.
    Is the debt scary? Yes it is! I had panic attacks after commiting to a PT school. I doubted myself a couple of times and I was so close to back out after signing my promissory note, but at the end of the day everyone has debt, some more than others.
    It is an investment, a very expensive one, but I have a great support system and I will do whatever I takes to make sure my loans are paid off in 5 years. I don’t care if I have to do travel Theraphy for 5 or 10 years, or if I have to live in a small studio apartment, or if I’m not able to upgrade my 2013 car any time soon.
    I will go where the money is as long as I can do what I’m pationate about.
     
    #16 DPTTELl, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  19. JMS54

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    Hello everybody,

    I am currently a physical therapist. I graduated in 2013. I graduated with 150+ in student loans and I will tell you it is NOT fun. My base salary is 78,000 and I also work per diem at local acute rehab hospital. I clear around 92-95 a year before taxes. My loans are no joke but I am able to live comfortably with my wife. Luckily, she doesn't have any loans. If I could do it all again, I would look into ways to have assistance with PT school. There are resources out there. Consider the military. Certain military programs will assist with financing PT school with a service commitment. Other programs out there will assist you with tuition re-reimbursement for servicing an area of the country in need. Adopt a doc programs are scholarships where physicians grant full scholarships for medical students. I believe there are similar programs for physical therapists also. Independent scholarships are also out there. Travel PT is also another great way to make great money after PT school but they aren't easy.

    My advice is to research these avenues to get some help with physical therapy school. It is terribly expensive compared the starting salary. There are ways to get help especially if you have undergrad debt like me. If student loans are your avenue, consider paying interest while in school if you can. It will help you in the long run. After graduation consider working for a non-profit. Federal student loans can be forgiven after 10 years working for a non-profit

    I also would research other medical professions too (PA, MD, DO, OT, ST). Do your own research and don't necessarily listen solely to people's opinion on a particular profession on these boards. There are bad and good in every profession and you determine the type of practitioner you want to be. Physical therapy is an incredibly rewarding career but others are too

    I for one am pursuing medicine at this time at age 29. I desire a larger role in patient care and am in the process of applying to medical school. My PT career so far will only help me in pursuit. I plan on applying to the military HPSP (health profession scholarship program). This program gives students full tuition for 4 years of medical school with a 4 year commitment after residency and fellowship. It also grants a monthly stipend. Similar programs are out there for PT and other medical professions

    IT IS MUCH EASIER TO FIND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BEFORE SCHOOL THAN IT IS AFTER SCHOOL

    Moral of the story is do your due diligence and you can't go wrong. Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
     
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