The 4 Priorities in a PT School

There are four things I want you guys to prioritize when choosing a physical therapy school. Number one is cost, two is location, three is clinical experiences, and four is when you can take the NPTE your National Physical Therapy Examination.

Number one is the cost. I don't want a scenario to happen years from now, where you're regretting your decision to go to that school because of how much student debt you're in due to the cost of the school.  Now, with cost, I'm talking about not a difference between $2,000 and $3,000. I'm talking about a difference in costs of $10k, 15k, 25k, 35k.. of the schools that you're going to go to. The next thing with the cost is the rank of the schools that you want to apply to. So oftentimes, we get students asking about schools they have ranked number two, number five, number seven, but it costs so much more money than another school. If you're going after schools because it's ranked number two on your list, but it's a million dollars, you might want to reconsider your options because once you get out and start applying for jobs, the job won't have importance on where you went to school.

The last thing with the cost of schools - I don't want it to paralyze you. If you have a plan after school, if you're going to start using your skills as a physical therapist or skills you learned and other avenues to create income to increase your income as a physical therapist, then you'll be able to pay back that higher amount of loans from that school. That might be an option for you if you love that school. 

Number two is location because it might be where you want to spend the rest of your life. So consider that. Take into consideration the location of where you're going, not just for your cost of living, but where you see yourself working, and possibly where you see yourself doing certain specialties in terms of clinical experiences.

Number three clinical experiences, why is this important? In my opinion, that's where you're going to learn like 70-90% of the real-world clinical information that you're going to use in the clinic. So in my opinion, clinical experiences are super important. When you're researching schools, when you're going on-campus visits, does the school talk about you possibly being able to choose where you do clinical? Do they talk about all the clinical relationships that they have with different sports teams or pediatric locations or neuro locations or hospitals? Whatever that specialty is that you're interested in, or if you're not interested in anything yet, do they have a wide range of clinicals that you can choose from? Sometimes the schools might not have all the clinical sites that you are interested in, but it might just take a person like you who's super interested in a certain specialty, and to make that school even more valuable to people in the future. At my school, we had something called a special request, where the students could choose a clinical experience if the students had a certain GPA. The special request was when a student could go out and see if that clinical site would take that student for that clinical. If that clinical site allowed that student to go for the clinical experience then the school can build that relationship, fill out that legal paperwork, and then you're at that clinical site. This does not just benefit you but also the school for students coming after you because you just created a relationship for another clinical site for that school.

Number four, when you can take the NPTE? - that's important because that can determine when you can start working and when you can start making money. The NPTE is a National Physical Therapy Examination which can be taken four times a year. Let's just say, for example, you are graduating in May and the NPTE is being given in April are you able and is that school allowing you guys to take the NPTE in April before you graduate in May, or are they going to make you wait until the next time the NPTE is offered in July, and make you take it then? That's important because that could be the difference between three-four months of the salary of the hourly pay of you working. So consider that. That's something that's kind of brushed over a lot when considering schools.

Hopefully this helps - I want you to prioritize cost, locations, clinical experiences, and  when you can take the NPTE. Then after that, you can factor in the other things on your list that are important to you.

Thank You For Your Attention!

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