PT Salary, Certificate, Career, Degree, Advantages and Disadvantages

 This was a turning point in my life and I started to do the research to find out the steps that I would have to go through to find out how to make this career come to life. As I fired up my computer I found several online colleges that offered classes to prepare me for my new career and sent off for more information.

Salary and Benefits

 There were several more reasons why I decided to start out in this profession. I think the main reason I wanted to pursue this career was because of the closeness with the public. Then another reason was the fact that a PT can make great money. It's true that you will have to put in the years in college but it would really be worth it. With a master of physiotherapy or even a doctor of PT the training programs can last up to three years. And the average salary for physical therapist can make up to $90,000 to $117,000 a year ( You have a good variety of where you will be and chances are not likely that you will be at a desk for very long at a time. You need to be up interacting with your patients and making a difference in someone's life.


 I chose Emory University as my University of my choice. A professional doctorate is a Doctor of PT or DPT. To prepare physical therapists for a practice in a health care environment the transition from the Master of PT degree to a professional doctorate was made. Unique in health care is the physiotherapist's expertise in movement and movement dysfunction. The educational needs of the PTs have gotten bigger than that of an independent practitioner as their societal and health care roles and responsibilities have grown.


Degree and Certificate

 A doctor of physical therapy degree is earned by students in the Division of PT at Emory. The program will start in June and will last three years until May in the third year. The majority of the required credits that a student needs for graduation must be earned at Emory University School of Medicine. The function of the human body along with the study of normal structure and the principles of movement science across the life span is what the students study for the first two semesters. During the 3rd semester the students study the pathophysiology and disease processes that is mixed with clinical problem solving in concurrent classes that have part time education with clinical experiences. Before a student gets a degree they need to complete 36 weeks of full time clinical internship at sites which carry the diverse condition in which physiotherapists study. The students from Emory get to choose from clinical education places around Metropolitan Atlanta and around the nation. The students come back to Emory to complete their research and to choose elective courses in different areas during the last semester in the DPT program. All physical therapists must take a state licensure examination after graduation. To take this state exam graduation from an accredited therapy program is required.

Study at PT School

How much do you feel you learned in school to come here to how much you went out and found yourself?

 That’s sort of a contentious issue, there is a lot of opinion about that. My first game at school, I think I was pretty dissatisfied with my academic progression in generally, I felt like I didn’t really learn what I thought I was going to learn, I thought PT school was going to give me a clear approach to muscular and skeletal examination to assessment, to diagnosis and then I came out with more questions than I had answered. There wasn’t an emphasis on movement as much as I thought there should have been so I was pretty critical of the academic system and I think I actually added to some of my objections to academia setup.

 I think in the last two years mentoring students, five PT students and I have had lots of undergraduates come through, I think that an undergraduate in a graduate school, they provide some really important qualities and here is an example. If you are out as a professional, you are thirty five years old and you are sitting in a course and you are listening to someone give a talk, how quickly are you going to be susceptible to their dogma or to their approach, how quickly are you going to be able to question or challenge what they are saying, in other words, the more experience you have and the more foundation in science you have, the quicker you are going to be able to say "No, I don’t agree with that, that’s not science based or that’s not evidence based or what I studied in body mechanics in undergrad doesn’t coincide with what that person is saying and I’m not sure I agree with that".

Learn from Colleagues

You bring up a really great point there about being willing to submit yourself to a professional and they talk to the students a lot about identifying people who are good and reliable sources of information and I know just from knowing you at the time, you have really put yourself in a position to learn from a lot of different people, I’d be interested if you could talk about maybe how you identified quality and that type of thing?

 It’s a great question because in our industry, fitness industry, medicine, there is just a lot more coming and that’s how a lot of folks gain money and gain popularity and it’s a part of the industry. It’s not that bad as long as you have the substance to back it up so when I am looking for someone to have a conversation with, learn from, go to their cores, collaborate with, cross brain with, I guess there are really 3 things I think about and I will be quite up front with you, I stole this straight up from Dave who owns and operates the lead FTS, what has that person done, whether that’s their degrees or their athletic career, who have they trained or rehabbed or coached, where have they done that and the third thing would be, who were their mentors, who have they studied under. I think it’s those three things, they are a combination of both academic pursuits, personal pursuits, both personal, athletic pursuits and then also, who have they submitted themselves under, who have you spent your time with and who have you learned from and who has challenged you to row so those are the things I look for.

Certification in Physical Therapy

Could you briefly list off your certifications in physical therapy and in strength and conditioning cause a lot of the students are trying to decide where they need to go with that type of credentialing.

I think it’s important that when you finish your bachelor’s degree then you have some sort of certification or license and you feel connected to a profession or a demographic. For me it was important to get my CSCS certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which I have since served as the chair of sports medicine special interest group. I have got my CSCS, which I think is one of the more challenging fitness designations to get as is requires a bachelor’s degree and it was also my passion, strength sports and weight training, then went to DPT school, got my license as a physical therapist and that’s really it as far as on paper, on the credential, clinical instructor for physical therapy, takes courses in manual therapy and dry needling. But in general, I still consider myself to be a generalist and although it’s not on paper. Finding a mentor was the best choice I could have ever made for my professional development and how I look at problem solving of clients and practicing physical therapy so finding a mentor, that was really important for me and I need to find someone that also respected strength and conditioning as much as I did and that I was willing to submit myself to and my mentor was a great mentor for that and he still is.