- “When I graduated from physical therapy school, therapists expected to work for someone and had abundant choices in location and specialties. The expectation was for a good paying job with ample opportunity to learn from mentors and a patient load that would allow for generous one-to-one patient time. It was also expected that the salary would afford an improved lifestyle and cover the payment of their low-interest student loans”
Wow! This was a mouth full! Let me start by saying…those were the days (in the Edith Bunker voice). If you don’t know Edith, go get some culture!
Prior to the balance budget of 1997, jobs were a plenty and the salary was good. Unfortunately this is also one of the situations responsible for the need of a balanced budget. People were seeing patients for such a long time and Medicare, and other insurance companies, continued to pay for any and all treatment issued. This was regardless of need. Can you imagine that in today’s day and age? We shot our own foot by over treating and creating the spa-type environment in which everyone got ultrasound, hot packs, electrical stimulation, and massage. That’s not very physical for being physical therapy. Those days are long gone and welcome to modern times. Students are taking out between 100-200K in order to earn the right to make 65K to start. Doesn’t sound like living the dream to me.
- “The emphasis on cost containment and required documentation has created an atmosphere that does not support the very reason that most of us went into this field in the first place: ‘patient care’….Student loan debts compared to starting salary make a potential physical therapy student consider other options that have better financial outcomes.”
I have this discussion with prospective students often. If you think that being a Doctor of Therapy sounds lucrative, think again. Depending on school choice and loan terms, the school could cost in excess of 500K (when interest over time is accumulated). We make good money, but retirement will have to be sacrificed in order to pay off student loans. Once ours are paid off, then we have to worry about providing an education for our children. Good luck in this profession! It has treated me well, but I don’t live an extravagant life either.
Quotes taken from:
Brown TC. From the President: Come Together Right now. IMPACT. July 2016:5.