Top Five Things Every PT Student Needs To Know

Whether you are a brand new physical therapy student, or  have been at it for a while, there are a few things every student of physical therapy needs to know.

 1.       Repetition, repetition, repetition.

There is no way to learn all of the information you need to know by just looking at it once – at least for 99.999% of all students.  If you are not lucky enough to have a photographic memory, your strategy has to include some repetition of the material.  Sound boring?  Probably, so I have devised some strategies that take some of the boredom out of the process.  Check out the Learning section for new things that get added often.

 2.       Rehabilitation is a very small world.

There are approximately 185,000 PTs, and about 66,000 PTAs, working in the United States.1  It seems impossible that almost a quarter of a million people can all know each other.  While that is true, it doesn’t mean that you can assume that you live and work in a bubble.  In the Professional section of this site you’ll find tons of information about being the kind of physical therapy professional that people rave about instead of complain about.

 3.       You have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than failing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

OK, so maybe that statistic isn’t entirely accurate.  But, the average pass rate over the past seven to ten years is 83.3%2 for PTs, and 77% for PTAs3, so the odds are very much in your favor.  Of course, if you still have some butterflies in your stomach about test day, take a look at our strategies for improving your chances on the NPTE.

4.       Balance is critical.

Anytime one approaches a difficult situation, the tendency is to throw everything you’ve got at it, including most, if not all of your time.  Sometimes that can come at the expense of other areas in your life.  Managing life balance is probably the most difficult challenge any student can face; especially older students for whom physical therapy is a second career.  The PT Student’s got you covered with specific time management tips to help you prioritize and spend your time where it counts in the Life Balance section.

5.       This will be one of the most difficult times of your life, but it is definitely worth it.

Almost no one escapes physical therapy school without a few battle scars.  It’s tough for everyone.  But, as with most things in life, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward.  And the rewards of being a physical therapy professional are fairly fantastic.  However, if you are not quite seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and need a pick-me-up, then read one of our inspiring stories to get your groove back.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for at The PT Student, let us know (, and we’ll do our best to help.  And remember to check back often as content is added.

Good luck!  You are going to do great!

22010-2011 Fact Sheet for Physical Therapist Education Programs, APTA
32010-2011 Fact Sheet for Physical Therapist Assistant Education Programs, APTA

© 2011 The PT Student

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