What If I'm Not Fully Convinced About Physical Therapy as a Career?

Before fully committing to the journey of becoming a physical therapist, you have to really figure out if physical therapy as a career is right for you. Don’t be led by the energy of others. It’s easy for those who love physical therapy to boast about all the reasons why they love it and why they are passionate about it, but you have to figure out if it’s for you. Think to yourself, “Is this the right time? Is PT even my calling? Is PT the route that I should be going?” And if we can figure that out, then great things happen.

The honest truth is, that’s not going to be the same for every single person. You shouldn’t be choosing physical therapy as a career because you see other people pursuing it. If you’re observing a physical therapist and you really admire their energy and how they work with patients, that should not be why you decide to go into it. It should be YOUR reason why and no one else’s. Dig deep into yourself and search for that reason why.

This whole idea of not fully being convinced about physical therapy doesn’t have to be negative either. It might be good to figure out that physical therapy isn’t the right career path for you earlier on rather than figuring that out 2 years into PT school. You have to understand what you’re fully getting yourself into, the time you have to commit, and the money you will be investing. There will be obstacles along the way, whether it’s during the application cycle, in your first year of school, or even when you go on clinical rotations. It won’t be an easy road by any means - it is a doctorate degree! Now, the purpose of this isn’t to scare you. It’s to give you the facts so that you aren’t surprised when hard times happen.

There are a few things you can do as a pre-PT to try to figure out if physical therapy is right for you. You can observe in a variety of physical therapy settings. The more diverse settings you observe/volunteer in and the more time you spend observing patients, the better of an idea you will have to see if physical therapy is for you. If you’re taking a gap year or have some extra time in your schedule, you could always apply for a physical therapy aide/technician job in the outpatient or inpatient setting too. You will be immersed in the setting and have a ton of 1 on 1 time with patients. Who knows, maybe you’ll figure out that you don’t like working with patients. Maybe you’ll figure out that you hate being on your feet all day. Or you might not like working with the patients who are a little more grumpy. Maybe you will figure out that you could never touch someone else's feet! 

Pay attention to the good days when you’re observing at different clinics or when you’re working as an aide. Why did you have those good days? Was it because of the patients you saw? But also pay attention to the bad days. Do you still have an interest in the field even on your worst days when you don’t feel like doing anything? Are you still drawn to the profession on your bad days? This could be the confirmation that you need especially if you’re not fully convinced about physical therapy yet.

We also have to address another aspect of this topic. If you know that you want to pursue a career in physical therapy, but you’re not 100% fully convinced you want to because of fear of being rejected, that is a whole different story. It’s okay to be fearful. It’s okay to have fears that you might be denied from schools or not get in during the cycle you’re applying. But what you CAN’T do is let those fears dictate your journey. You can’t let those thoughts and fears win. You’re not going to be the picture-perfect applicant for every program you apply to and that is more than okay. You have to utilize the strengths you have and continue working on your weaknesses every day.

Don’t forget that WE are here for you as well. If you’re trying to figure out if this career is for you, reach out to us. If you need someone to talk things over with, message us. We want to help guide you down the right path, whatever that may be, without wasting your time. Remember, it’s OKAY if physical therapy isn’t the career path you should be taking. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s always better to find that out sooner rather than later.


Thank You For Your Attention!

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