To answer both comments, my education for what it was, was relatively cheap. The only things that could have saved me money were
Doing a “5 Year” Program, and
Living at home.
I didn’t do a “5 year program” because I didn’t know I wanted to be a PT until my junior year in college. Too late. I needed to finish my undergrad degree in Biology and do PT as graduate work. And living at home was out of the question due to physical space issues, and other more personal “needing to get out and live on my own and grow” issues.
My undergraduate education was at a SUNY school so it was as cheap as a college education gets. My 3 years of graduate school were relatively cheap as private schools go, I could have gone to more prestigious schools such as Colombia or NYU for about 3x what I paid. Touro’s PT program has an EXCELLENT reputation, it was reasonably close to home, and there was a Jewish community as it was a “Jewishly affiliated” school. Touro was the right place for me to be.
And as surprising as it is to most people, this is what PT school costs. Very few people realize the scope of a PT, what we learn, and what we do. I think only the people who have experienced the not as well known facets of PT truly understand. Not many people think burn patients, autism, heart attack, GI surgery, wound care, hospital, ICU, etc, when they think of PT. The profession is so much more than back pain and knee surgery, strokes, and spinal cord injury. I personally didn’t fully realize it all until I was in school. I learned A LOT of medical, physiological, histological, and pharmacological stuff that I never thought I would use, but I do every day. And PT’s are grossly underpaid for what we do, for what we know and for what our education costs.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my work and I would not change what I do for anything. When I have children, I still want to be able to work part time. When I’m old and retired from physically working in the profession, I want to be involved somehow, hopefully teaching, which is where the PhD comes in. If I won the lotto, my loans wouldn’t be a problem anymore, salary wouldn’t be a problem anymore, but I’d still continue to work. I LOVE being a PT, I am happy to go to work every day, the profession fits me so well, and I consider myself truly lucky to have found a profession that I feel this way about. Not many people can say that.
I knew exactly what I was getting into when I took out the loans. But my education was worth EVERY PENNY. It’s just frustrating sometimes to pay it all off. Given all this, is my “complaining” justified? Yes and no. Do people who buy houses that they love living in and don’t regret buying complain about their mortgage? Yeah. I guess with this particular post I was just venting a bit of steam after writing out a lot of checks.
As for a PhD, my eventual goal is to teach in a PT program and you need to have a PhD to teach nowadays in most PT programs with all the shifts and inner politics happening in the profession. It’s not something I can start for at least 5 or so years of experience though. I have some time. And most employers/hospitals offer some tuition reimbursement for continued education and degrees. So I’m hoping to work it out so that it won’t cause another hundred thousand dollar dent in my life.
And to answer the question about per diem work, I cannot do any kind of “home care” adult or pedi until I have 2 years of work experience. So I have another year to wait for that. I am however currently revamping my resume to send to other area hospitals/rehab centers to pick up some per diem time on my days off. Not a thrilling prospect for me, but if that’s what I need to do to make ends meet, there have been worse things. I do hope to pick up some home care patients when I can, 1 or 2 a week after work in the evenings, it’s GREAT $$$.
Hope that answered your questions, and thanks for your comments/support/advice.