Advice Before You Start the PTA Program: FROM THE DIRECTOR OF A PTA PROGRAM!

advice before you start the PTA program from the director of the PTA grow hey what's up guys my name is Antonio and I work in physical therapy and in this channel we talk about the ins and the outs when it comes to physical therapy and in this video we're gonna be talking about some advice before you start the program or even if you are in the program or even if you're about to finish the program in about getting a job and all that stuff so we're gonna interview the director of the program and currently right now I'm on the campus of Baker and they were cool enough to let me shoot this video to help you guys out so we're gonna go right now find the director of the program interview so I'm here with Aaron Smith she's the director of loyalty program here at Baker she's been working in this field for a long time she's been at Baker for 16 years for 14 years it's been a clinical coordinator right right and then for two years she's been the director of the PTA program so she's got a lot of experience so tell us a little bit about yourself Erin okay well I graduated with my master's of physical therapy degree 20 years ago at Oakland University as soon as I graduated I pretty much started working in inpatient rehab at Genesis Hospital and I my background has pretty much been impe sure we have ever since I actually still do treat patients no I used to be full-time treating patients and then after about five years is when this position that Baker College became available so if you are interested in starting the PTA program what tips would you give to someone who is looking if this is the right field that they should go into talk about someone who's interested in this field okay the number one tip I would tell any person interested in the PTA program or any career actually is to find out what a day in the life of that career actually looks like so go beyond researching it online and reading about the career because that's only going to show you so much of that profession to truly know what a PTA is going to do you have to go observe them observe them in their environment so go as observe when they're treating patients observe what a day-to-day schedule would look like for a therapist another thing that I tell my students or students who come to me thinking about going into PTA I tell them there are many different areas of PT and that physical therapy so a lot of times people think it's outpatient orthopedics you're working with people who have hurt their knee or hurt their shoulder and they walk into the clinic and they walk out yes it is a big piece of PT for sure but there's a huge other area where you're in a hospital setting or you're in a an extended care facility or some people consider that a nursing home or or homecare for example so I tell my students make sure you see the full spectrum of what you could potentially be expected to do as a physical therapist assistant because in the program you will have to show competency in all areas not just what you think you might be interested in at the time that's a good tip that's a good tip so so getting getting out there getting in job shadowing a PT or PT is that's some great advice to get out there that way you can see what's what's gonna be expected and if you find that you do want to go into that field you're gonna need those hours to apply it's not gonna be time moisten let's say awesome awesome now what would you say speak to the group of people who are in the program currently and you know there may be struggling through the program or what not or they're looking for advice so like maybe studying tips or different things what would you give advice to those who are in the program okay I think a lot of times when people look at a PTA program a majority if not all PTA programs are two-year Associates of Applied Science program so we tend to get a group of a population of people who are maybe working full time and and looking at maybe changing careers and and I think sometimes it's missed about how much time it takes you're gonna take once you get into that sure there's you know you give it and so my number one piece of advice would be when you get accepted into that program you have to consider that your full time job if you can I know people have to make a living and they have to pay for the tuition but ultimately once you're in the program it is going to take a lot a lot of your time I know it's been said that for every one hour that you're in class you should be prepared to spend two to three hours outside of class studying writing papers really being in the laboratory practicing and then just because there's so much of our curriculum that you can't just learn from the book you have to actually do yeah and so if you're not practicing those skills it's going to be very hard to then be able to demonstrate the competency so that would be a piece of advice for sure yeah I would definitely say that's really important to to get involved hands-on you know you're diving in if you don't know something then take time to go learn it you know before class after class with your classmates you know that's always great right but just get in there even as the teachers there are a lot of times they they want to help you make it through this program and I do think that's an important piece there there's a big part of how well you're doing in the program is based on grades but there are a lot of other things that can that can determine if someone's doing well or not and we don't know as instructors until you come and tell us this is what I'm struggling with I am really struggling with I can recall for the test but then I don't know how that applies to this scenario right so give me some suggestions of what I can do so definitely go to your instructors and ask them do you have any advice on how to study and every instructors going to maybe look at things a little differently too so don't just go to one instructor go to multiple instructors within the program because each person can have a good tip yeah that's really good feedback right there that's that's some good tips to be mindful of now what would you say that you're in the program but you're about to be done like for those who are getting out into the workforce what tips would you get on getting a job or getting yourself out there getting involved in different things what do you speak to that kind of topic on where would you go once you're done with the program okay well just before you're done with the program as you know you have full-time clinicals yes so that is where you go to the clinic and you are there for a period of time still as a student but you are now putting into practice everything that you've just learned from the program so you're treating patients and you're getting to know the the people that work in that that site so I always tell our students that you need to really start developing your rapport with maybe your clinical instructor there or the supervisor of that particular unit or the manager of that unit and use that to your advantage when you're there is a student asks the people in that clinic what do you look for in a new employee what what kind of what types of qualities are you looking for when you do think about hiring a new therapist another thing you want to think about is how am i gonna separate myself from everybody else you just got done graduating with maybe 32 32 other students so what is gonna make you stand out from somebody else I think a big thing you can be looking for here now is how are you gonna be as a professional so how are you gonna separate yourself from the norm many people are gonna graduate with the same grades that you you had you're gonna all have the same degree what makes you different what makes you the phenomenal therapist that this supervisor or this employer should hire so what I've always told our students and I don't know if you remember the program is my goal is the program director is two graduate students that go above and beyond the call of duty go in early stay late if you need to use your lunch hour to treat a patient who couldn't come in during the 8 to 5 time and they only had a half an hour and it happens to fall on your lunch hour are you going to say no sorry I have lunch that day or are you going to put that aside and put your patient first that's what we want our graduates to do is we want them to see their patients as more than a diagnosis they are actually a person and we want them to be advocates for their patients we want them fighting for them so that they can get the best outcomes possible from a physical therapy perspective because as you know a lot of times patients don't have a voice and that's what we can do so if you're showing your employer that I'm here for the patient I'm not here just for me I'm here for the patient employers are gonna notice that yeah I pick up on that employers will definitely respond well to someone who is motivated and someone who is ambitious enough to go get that extra mile that she's talking about that's that's that's a good point so those are some great tips on if you're looking to start the program if you already are in the program and if you are about to be done with it looking for a job those are some great tips from Aaron right now we just want to ask her a few different questions like do you enjoy this career yourself what's it like for you going into work and all that stuff I absolutely love it I part of my role as the director is to talk to incoming freshmen or talk students in high school who are trying to figure out what they want to do and where they want to take the next step with their education and actually I don't know if you knew this but in 2013 Forbes magazine rate physical therapy is one of the ten happiest jobs oh yeah so I'm not sure if you knew that and I always tell my Heist the high school students coming to see me that I absolutely agree with that obviously our field has its level of stress and it can be very difficult for sure but never once in my 20 years as a therapist have I ever regretted going into this field or thinking to myself I wish I would have done something differently yeah I've loved the aspect of being a physical therapist the the nice thing about this field too is that it's very flexible and it can open many doors so when I was going to be a physical therapist I had no idea that one day I would actually be teaching right or being an instructor or director I that wasn't even on my radar but it's just the way that our field is is it there are multiple things you can do with this particular one degree it's very rewarding it is it's very rewarding is very flexible what I've loved about it too is as a physical therapist I've been single and then I got married and then I started having kids and one thing that I loved about this degree or continue to love about this degree is it has allowed me to do all of those roles and still use my education so when I didn't have any children I was working two jobs I was working full-time at Genesis and working part-time here then when I started having children I wanted to be a home more as a mother I could cut back my hours and I was able to do I was able to flex my time at the clinic so that I could be working when my husband was home with the kids so I didn't have to leave the children so I've loved that aspect there's a lot of flexibility in it too if your schedule especially yeah if you do have kids and all that stuff you can and be an early morning I have some friends that are in the clinic as early as 6:00 in the morning and they're out by 2:00 in the afternoon so you know it's definitely flexible from that perspective yeah what's it like so this is something me personally I want to know what it's like because I only work in the clinic I only work with patients in people but tell us what it's like when you're working with students and you got to teach a class like from a professor aspect say one of these people want to okay be a professor they want to go in the university setting talk to that like what's that like being a teacher being a director that in essence I think the the big thing of what you mean to be an instructor is do you have a passion for the field outside of just what a PT does and what they need to do for me I know personally I it all goes back to that advocacy for patients and how important it is for any healthcare worker to go above and beyond the call of duty we've all seen both ends of the spectrum those people who just go in they go in on time they leave on time to collect their paycheck unfortunately all the way to those that are coming in early staying late and they're putting the patient first yeah so to me that is a big reason why I went into the teaching role was to be able to not only do it myself with my patients but I was able to then teach my students that there is much of the program much of the field that you need to know from a technical standpoint but then how do you apply that to your patients still make them feel like they are number one we've got to think about the fact that what we're treating patients they're not going to be feeling well they're gonna be in pain so I tell my students you have to be able to explain to a patient why it's important that they come to therapy even though they don't feel well or they're in so much pain they don't want to move you have to be able to do all this for your patients so that they do get better because most of the time they're not gonna want to do it yeah come on do the physical therapy so there's so much that goes into being a good therapist and I feel like I have the best best of both worlds I can yeah and and hopefully make a difference in their lives and then I can bring it back to to Baker and try to teach students how to do that yeah so I feel like you can't yeah they're out there doing it exactly I feel like you even have like a bigger amplitude like you're able to make a bigger difference because you're not only treating one on one individually but you're preparing the next generation of PTAs to go learn the skills to go above and beyond you have a much greater impact when I'm teaching a group of students who then can go teach the patience and all that I keep that in mind and I take that very seriously so there you guys have it that's some advice before you start the PTA program or even if you're in it or you're past it I just want to thank Aaron for taking the time to do this and to be a part of this I know it's helped me she's helped me a ton in my career and so I just wanted her to be able to help you guys in your career now I want to thank you I want to thank you for putting our profession out there the way you are I want to thank you for coming here to Baker College where you get school and and giving us an opportunity to show us show the beautiful campus and and hopefully we get some people interested in coming to see us and I do want to say you can somehow to find me because yeah yeah put the link to the college and in the description of the video and if you liked the video hit thumbs up on it leave us a comment if you have any other questions that maybe we didn't cover in this video and I would love to hear feedback from you guys so that's all we got for today perfect

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  • Brett Salyer says:

    Is this a good job for someone who struggles with math. I am 17 and going into my last year of highschool. I can get an A in anything but math. And does it pay good?

  • Nick Rajpaul says:

    So it’s not entirely related to this video, but I recently got accepted into a pta program at a private college (which is still pretty competitive) and I’m also waiting for results from a community college pta program that’s about 5 hours from me. The community college one only costs $8500 for the whole program, which should be less because I have a lot of the general ed courses done. But the private college one costs $34,000. Im getting off topic, anyways, I was wondering if employers take into account where you did your program at when hiring you. Like do they penalize your application if they seen you did your program at a private college versus a community college or do they not care as long as you have your license and graduated from an accredited program?

  • Lola A says:

    Any tips on going to school for PTA while also having a small infant?

  • Zachary Campbell says:

    I just started looking into becoming a PTA, and Im curious if you can take classes through a community college instead of a for-profit school. is this possible?

  • ShamikaRenè says:

    Great interview 😁

  • MahoGats TFM says:

    Hi Antonio,
    I'm a senior going into community college this year and wish to get all my GE's done as fast as possible so I can apply to the PTA program. Do you know the success rate of getting in, because supposedly there is quite the competition- and even if I didn't get in do you know how else I could pursue the career/major?

  • TorysTrending says:

    Thankyou this was very informative!

  • Richard Haynes PTA, CPT says:

    I went to PTA school and graduated in 1995. It's been a great ride. It really is a full-time job when you get into the program. It was highly recommended and in fact, we as students were not accepted into the PTA program until all of our general education requirements were completed. The PTA program itself was that extensive. with the amount of study and courses required it should have been a bachelors degree program rather than as AS. And finally what will make a great PTA or PT for that matter will also include life and work experience. I came into the program after working in the corporate field. I had supervised people and knew what made a great employee and what did not. I feel its a great career for someone that is looking to reinvent themselves from a previous profession and has the passion and drive to do whatever it takes to get into the field. When I went to school the competition was high to get in as there were not that many schools around, now they are just about on every street corner. And generally, a very large percentage of students in my class, for instance, were in their late 20s up through 50 years of age. I think today many classes now have much younger students now as well.

  • Selma Ortega says:

    Antonio and Mrs Smith what are you doing to protect the profession from extinction?

  • Selma Ortega says:

    This profession will not survive. Consider other career options.

  • moonlightrai says:

    Hey Antonio, I have the same difficulties as Dariel. I am not an amputee, but I always had difficulties standing for long periods of time. Now, I work at an airport. And I can stand for a couple of hours, but I have to have a seat option. I've always chosen and stayed away from careers based upon that. I know I can complete the PTA program, but are there areas of PTA I should focus on?? Yes, I am a very physical person, I love to exercise, jog, long walks, etc. But, standing for eight hours, always been difficult for me. Can you give me any suggestions. Thanks 🙂

  • bambookhang21 says:

    Hi Antonio, what would be a good bachelors degree that will take associate degree credits from a PTA program and be able to transfer to a bridge program for DPT?

  • Sharon Castellanos says:

    Really liked the questions- really helpful. I also liked how you asked your own question!

  • Luis Montanez says:

    Im a active duty solider stationed in Korea is there any online programs you recommend?

  • Karadi Aniko says:

    Why was she working two jobs; is the salary from one job not enough to pay back the loans and live life? What is the entry-level salary? (not the average wage)

  • Arely Henriquez says:

    Thank you, you're so professional

  • 1 k says:

    great interview

  • Melissa Kroeger says:

    What is the stressors of being a PTA?

  • M M says:

    I really like your videos I'm starting the pta program and was curious if you have any online tools or other methods of studying that may have helped you along the way? Thanks in advance for any feedback

  • Hannah says:

    Will it help to get into the program if you’re a massage therapist already? I love what I do now, I just want to be able to help even more.

  • INFERNO IPhone7 btw ツ says:

    Hi, I'm currently a CNA working full time day shift. I live in NY and is interested in becoming a PTA. I'm having a hard time finding a school that does PTA. Do you have to apply to the physical therapy schools or do they have separate programs for PTA. I find alot of PT schools but not PTA schools. please help with list of schools.

  • Ashlei Drew says:

    I tore my ACL in my junior year, which initially sparked my interest for the PT field, but ended up having my little kiddos right after high school. My passion for this field has NEVER dissipated, and I have always been so torn between my family life and schooling. I came across your videos and just wanted to say thank you a million times for all of your information and perspective! Can’t wait to start my journey towards being a PTA!
    You’re an amazing human! 💛

  • Jesus Torres says:

    Are there any medical dangers while on the job?

  • Morgan Adams says:

    This is a great video. She rocks!

  • Anton says:

    Like and follow for sure. More video on PTA interview, please. It's very motivating.

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