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What It's Like Working at Physical Therapy Central

by Amanda Felder, PT, DPT

I’ve been a physical therapist working at Physical Therapy Central now for a little over 2 years, but I’ve been with the company for 7 years total.

In 2012, I started working as a PT technician while working on my undergraduate degree, and I stayed on throughout PT school. When I graduated PT school, it was an easy decision to come back home and continue working at Physical Therapy Central.

Why to Consider Working at Physical Therapy Central

The main reasons I decided to continue working at Physical Therapy Central were the high level of excellence that they expect from their therapists, ongoing learning opportunities, and the culture of the company.

Compensation and benefits were obviously a big factor in looking for a position, but my main concern after graduation was finding a job where I would have mentorship. I was really looking for a position at which I would have a “go-to” person who could help me grow as a clinician by, of course, answering questions when I had them, but also pushing and challenging me, expecting improvement from me, and teaching me how to think instead of what to think. I definitely found that at Physical Therapy Central, and I look forward to having the opportunity to be that person for other clinicians in the future.

In addition to mentorship, I think work-life balance is grossly undervalued by new graduate physical therapists. Physical Therapy Central gives me this balance by allowing me to work four 10 hour days instead of the standard five 8 hour days. Having that extra day per week to do my own thing and step away from the clinic gives me a lot of opportunity for personal growth and doing the things I enjoy.

The Culture At Physical Therapy Central Is Special

The culture of the company as a whole is unparalleled, in my opinion. Despite the company growing quite a bit since I initially started – now with nearly 30 clinics around the state – it still has a very personal feel. In the clinic, teamwork makes the dream work, so it’s important that everybody knows their role. All of us (PTs, PTAs, PT techs, office associates) work together to take care of our patients, and it doesn’t work if part of the team isn’t doing their part. We make an effort to ensure that everyone knows they are needed for us to help patients feel better and meet their goals!

PT Central has 8 main core values as a company: build a positive team, be respectful and gracious, pursue growth and learning, be passionate and determined, live with integrity, be progressive and embrace change, create fun and laughter, and be humble and kind. There’s not much else I could add personally that would be of more importance. Being part of this culture and working alongside people with these same values . . . I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Interviewing and Onboarding At Physical Therapy Central

The interview process was pretty easy. I met with the clinic director for my interview, and then I also had a “working interview” during which I went to the clinic for a few hours of observation to determine if I would be a good fit for the culture of the clinic and if I was someone they could see themselves working with on a daily basis.

The onboarding process was great as well. I started with a lot of co-treating with my mentor and gradually increased my level of independence from this, to 1 patient/hour, until I was treating a full caseload (15 patients/day). In addition to scaling up my patient case load, I also had weekly mentorship sessions for my first few months during which we would go over upper or lower quarter screening, treatment techniques, or whatever it was I felt like I needed help with. This was huge for making me feel comfortable with patients!

The First Few Weeks Working at Physical Therapy Central

I knew I had made the right decision even before my first day on the job at PT Central.

I accepted the position before I graduated school, and they made me a “congratulations” sign and sent me a picture of all the staff holding it on the day I graduated. It felt so good to feel like a member of the team before they even really knew me. My first few weeks on the job went by in a whirlwind, with me trying to learn the ropes.


An Average Day Working at Physical Therapy Central

In terms of hours, I work four 10 hour days – Tuesday through Friday which provides me with great flexibility. A typical day consists of arriving to the clinic at 7:15am to prepare for the day. I generally take my first patient of the day at 7:30am and on average will see 15 patients per day. This is very manageable considering the support I have. Our staff consists of 3 PTs, 2 PTAs, and 3 PT techs. The clinicians tend to be good about helping each other out when needed, especially if someone has a cancellation and another is behind. We have a great staff of techs as well, and they help as much as they can when appropriate.

Working in rural Oklahoma, I treat a little bit of everything. My caseload is mostly orthopedics, but we also see a variety of other conditions as well, including many neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, post-stroke, Parkinsons, etc), cardiac rehabilitation, pediatrics (torticollis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy), balance dysfunction, and general deconditioning.

I couldn’t ask for a better community to work in; it’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody.

One of our big referral sources is word of mouth, and it’s always fun to get a family member or friend of a former patient – it gives us a connection right off the bat. Many times, patients will also come in long after discharge from formal therapy just to say hi or to take part in the “Alumni Program” in which former patients can come in and use our equipment to keep up with their exercises and stay active. I absolutely love when patients do this – it’s always so good to see them!

When it comes to administrative work, you can expect to complete the typical paperwork, nothing out of the ordinary. We also complete monthly peer audits/chart reviews to ensure we’re meeting all the insurance-required guidelines.

The Best Part Of Working At Physical Therapy Central

The thing I enjoy most about working at Physical Therapy Central is the camaraderie I have with all of my coworkers. One of PT Central’s core values is “Create Fun and Laughter,” and we definitely do that. It’s easy to get up for work every day when you work with people you like!

Another great benefit of working at Physical Therapy Central is the opportunity for growth. I really can’t even put into words the amount of growth I’ve experienced as a clinician since starting at PT Central. When I started, I felt lost and like I was in way over my head, just as many new graduate physical therapists do. PT Central really encourages career growth and is partnered with Evidence in Motion (EIM) to give its clinicians opportunities for continuing education and advanced training programs.

Personally, I took the route of doing EIM’s Manual Therapy Certification and sitting for the orthopaedic specialty board exam. Now, 2 years out of school, I am a board certified orthopaedic specialist (OCS)! The opportunities afforded to me by working for PT Central helped immensely not only in preparing me for this growth, but also encouraging me every step of the way. This isn’t the only route our staff can take, though, as we also have clinicians who have specialized in sports rehab or have advanced training in vestibular/concussion management, pelvic health, and pain management, to list a few.

My biggest goal for as long as I could remember was to get my OCS, and PT Central did help me meet that goal. Now, I’m becoming interested in leadership opportunities and maybe one day opening a clinic. PT Central is helping me work towards this by giving me the opportunity to take leadership development classes and, soon, stepping into a clinic director role at the clinic where I currently practice.

The Ideal Physical Therapist for PT Central

If you are considering working for Physical Therapy Central, I would ask you, “What are you waiting for?”

PTs who would fit in best at PT Central are those who are driven, want to better themselves and their practice, and like to have fun at work while helping patients get better!

This article was written in partnership with Confluent Health, a proud sponsor of CovalentCareers Resources and physical therapists!


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