Want a rewarding career? Try physical therapy

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Want a rewarding career? Try physical therapy

Aubrey Garcia, Reporter

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Many students go through the motions of high school only thinking about “now”. Wake up, catch the bus, class period after class period then head home or an after-school event. Students go through this for a total of four years in most cases. Sometimes we are so caught up in our routines, and schoolwork that we never actually sit and think about after. What comes next after these four years are up, and graduation arrives?
Some kids have thought about it, and have a general idea of what they want to do. Some of their plans involve college, and some of those plans do not. Both plans are perfectly fine as long as it’s what you see yourself doing, and know it will make you happy.
However many people haven’t thought about it at all. Some people don’t have the slightest idea and need some guidance. This article is the first in a series of professions that might catch your eye.
A rewarding career choice to study in college is a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. Being a PT involves teaching and assisting patients in stretches, performing exercises that can help strengthen bones, muscles, and aid in recovery and function of nerves.
This career can help young children or adults who have been through extensive surgery, veterans who have lost limbs and need prosthetics. People who have broken body parts, and need to get things moving properly again, even people who have gone through strokes and need to learn to eat, move, and walk again.
The locations that employ Physical Therapists are hospitals, private practices, VA facilities, and at-home employment. You can also be a field physical therapist for athletes and dancers.
Becoming at PT takes a strong-willed person. Many cases a PT faces could stir up strong emotions for the patient because of the pain that their situation has caused them. However, part of the job is to hide the feelings of pity and push the patients to the limit, to motivate them to get better no matter how painful and scary it is. As a physical therapist, you will have to take their mood swings, the cursing and the “I hate you’s.”
You will have to take the anger and aggression that your patients throw at you, put aside your pride, and not take it personally. It is no easy career, but once a patient walks again, or can throw a baseball, or can dance at their child’s wedding, you will know that you helped them. You pushed them to get better and to not give up no matter how hard things got.
Now if this interests you then there is a very simple process to go through. It includes a four-year attendance at college and majoring in physical therapy. Once you have gotten your degree, you can apply for an internship at any hospital with a physical therapy department or program.
Just like anything you have to start somewhere. You most likely won’t just stroll into a hospital fresh out of college and start fixing things and running stuff. You will come in as a learning intern. You will run errands and observe. From there, you slowly will start helping with the simpler tasks until you move up to being assistant to the physical therapist.

As an assistant to the physical therapist, you will help with tending to the patient’s questions and deal with the heavy lifting. You will assist in simpler cases – sometimes supervised and other times by yourself.
This is all depending on your supervisor. This will continue until your superiors are convinced that you know everything you need to know, and are capable of successfully recuperating patients. Then you will have finally reached your desired goal of being a licensed physical therapist. From here you can remain in the hospital setting or apply to different locations.
This is one of the many career options that students can research further, and look into to see if this is something you could imagine yourself doing, or be happy pursuing. If this isn’t for you, then stay tuned into “The Point” and this career highlight series to see if anything catches your interest. Your options are limitless, so explore them.

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