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Working During PT School: The Why and How

by Jose Martinez

young-woman-doctor-older-man-patient-smiling-1

If you've opened this article, it's most likely due to one of two reasons:

  1. You've just gotten into a PT program, and you're currently wondering whether it's a wise choice to keep working through school.
  2. You're already in grad school, and you're in need of a little extra cash.

While some may argue that working while in school will give you less time to dedicate to your academics, it can be a great choice for a variety of reasons. Before continuing with this article, take the time to consider how much "free" time you have, and how much of that time can be dedicated to a part-time gig without creating additional stress or getting in the way of your studies.

Below, read on to learn about the 3 major benefits associated with getting a part-time gig through PT school.

1. People Skills

We can't emphasize this enough. The more experience you have with people, the better! If you're able to land a customer service job, those hours spent working will pay off in the long run. You'll learn how to work with customers of all different demographics and personalities, which will come in handy once you're a physical therapist. Chances are, you're going to work with a variety of personalities throughout your PT career (some more demanding than others), and this is a great way to make sure your customer service is up to speed. 

2. Time Management

Having a job while going to school improves your task efficiency and time management skills. And we get it, the thought of being at work on a Friday night while your friends and family are relaxing may seem less than appealing. However, when your schedule is already set for you, you'll quickly learn how and when to prioritize everything. Not to mention, having some extra cash in your pocket is never a bad thing! Learning how to fine-tune your time management early on will come in handy once you finally head off in your career. In no time at all, you'll be able to juggle your career, social life, and sanity, with ease.

3. Outlook/Mentality

Simply put, adding a part-time job to your calendar while you're in school changes the way you look at things. Sure, you've probably met your fair share of individuals who are only interested in living out their academic years while they can. And while there's nothing wrong with that, learning to work simultaneously will teach you countless life lessons that you can use throughout your career. Not only can you pride yourself on being a hard worker, but you can be proud in knowing how much you were able to juggle at once and put yourself in a position to handle your finances and responsibilities very early on.

But what kind of job?

Upon graduating as a physical therapist, we have the clinical skills to treat and have an impact on most of the patients we encounter. Despite that, the most important skill health professionals lack coming out of school is the ability to break down information to the level of the patient.

We have the ability to actually address the root of the problem and promote long-term changes with our patients — real changes that can positively affect them every single day for the rest of their lives. After all, as therapists, we sometimes spend more time with patients than they do with their own families. Consistently having others buy into our way of thinking is no easy task and because of this, it is crucial that we, as students, continue to work on mastering this skill.

Ideally, your job through PT school can assist in improving some of the skills needed for your future career. If you're entering your first year in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, go to a well-respected local gym and apply to be a personal trainer where you can refine your skills working one on one with clients. Even if that’s not what you want to do, you can surely find at least one skill in any job that will better prepare you for life after school.

So before you quickly dismiss the thought of working through that first year of grad school, take a minute to weigh out the potential benefits that can come from accepting that part-time job.

Looking for some motivation in your PT career? Click the link below!

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