Joined: September 14, 2002
"I think they are smarter about knowing that the degree is only an entry into a field, after which they can work to get what they want, instead of seeing it as a meal ticket to some guaranteed hospital job and X amount of money per year, as many PTs see it."
I agree with this statement and believe PT's need to get out of this employee/salary mode. Why analyze yearly salaries, what does that really tell you? I would rather that money go to educating PT's on the benefits of true autonomous practice rather than analyzing salaries. I know the APTA's vision is to get away from the employee mentality and move on to an independent profession. This can only be achieved by educating students on the opportunities that are out there.
If I was a student now, I would get out! That is just me though. The pay is not there. Whoever told you that you will make money comparable to a nurse or even less was being dead honest. You can make some money if you crack out the overtime. But how much 80k? Plenty of people make that these days and actually get to see their family. It all depends on your expectations. If you are ok with 50-65k a year that this is for you. We have a P.T. at the hospital I work at that has 25 years of experience and she gets about 70k a year. To me that is disgusting. The money is not here. I am considering Law school and teaching. Both very different, I know. But I know this is not working. As far as the APTA goes, I will not give them a dime. They told me at one point that our money does not go to lobbying and that they have to have a separate campaign for that. That was the last day I sent them money. I do not need junk mail, I need someone to bribe legislators like the MD and DC pool. They have way more power than us. I can finally admit that. Good luck friend. I wish someone told me in school what it would be like. I would have saved myself some money.
I've noticed a big difference in attitudes of many new PT's as compared to old PT's. The new PT's seem to have an attitude that they are owed something. I believe the schools have been trying to increase the status of PT by hyping the students on their own value in the healthcare system. Scoffing at 70K a year for a staff therapist, an employee, makes me wonder about the expectations of the new PT's. Many PT's are looking down their noses at RN's, it wasn't that long ago that the shoe was on the other foot.
Sorry about the tone. But we must be realistic, 70k for a staff physical therapist with 25 years of experience IS nothing to be happy about. I work at a hospital with a staff of 10 outpatient therapists and 4 inpatient. Of the 10 outpatient therapists, whose years of experience range from 4-18 yrs, the common complaints are salary and lack of respect in the healthcare system. Yes, schools are giving therapists the wrong impression and so is the APTA. I would love to be in the position that I feel we should be and the one that the APTA would like us to be in. Hell c'mon, 7 years of school is the current model. You don't think you deserve a little better role in the medical community than what you have. A nurse usually has 4 years and many of the older ones like my parents have 2 years and they do better financially. The financial aspect is my main gripe about this profession. The second complaint is at times having to follow doctors orders. When I say that I mean that the "team" really doesn't exist. It is very difficult to get a MD to return a call or to really listen. I know it doesn't apply to all MDs. But these are the complaints that I hear about all the time. But if you think 70k in NY after 25 years in the profession is good than all I can say is that PT school is not a good investment. The crappy part is I like the job, like the patients, like helping others. But it seems like we all have to do overtime or get second jobs to support families. I don't look down at anyone. How the hell can I when I am too busy working? So my question is, what can we do about it?
I think Jason hit the highlights already on the other forum. The other thing is that in any job you are responsible for what you get, go into business for yourself. If you don't think there is the demand then you have to ask why you should get an increase in pay. One of the things I keep recommending is that PT's need to sell to the general public their value and their services and be more concerned about meeting patients wants rather than practicing the way they like.
7 years in school for the same salary that 4 years in school used to get PT's, you do have to wonder, and I ask, is the DPT necessarily the way you want the profession to go, I'm not saying it's not but I don't see the reimbursement issue changing for the better.
I do understand your frustration, I think the schools are selling a bill of goods they aren't delivering and I know many PT's burnout.
Joined: March 1, 2004
[QUOTE]If I was a student now, I would get out![/QUOTE]If you are entering the profession strictly for the money then I agree with you.
Back in 1999 our profession went through some lean times. Programs were graduating too many therapists and there were not enough jobs. Salaries were down a bit. The profession kind of went through a "cleansing" where those who were in it for the money left the profession and those who truly cared about patients and getting people better stayed. It was sort of good for the profession to go through this. In my opinion there are a lot better things about this profession than money.
You make some fair points but your arguments are similar to every profession. Talk to a law student that's not in the top 20% of his/her class .... many of them are very worried about whether they will get a job at all. I love these caps on lawsuits but this is hurting lawyers on both ends (defense and plaintiff). 70k for many lawyers these days would be a dream and that's only going to get worse ..... I believe most law schools have about 300 to a class on average .... too many out there.
MDs are having their issues too. The money can still be there and that's mainly because their lobby (AMA) is incredibly strong .... and I mean INCREDIBLY strong. Still, MDs are having their own struggles.
I love money, but I would quickly sacrafice the dollars for a fulfilling profession. I have friends that went 4 yrs undergrad to get an Accounting degree, 1 yr for a Masters in Accounting, 2 yrs working at a large Accounting firm (making 45k a year), then returned returned to Law school so they could be a tax attorney ..... and they are making BIG money. Two problems - they HATE it and if the government ever streamlines our tax system, they're screwed.
I like what you said about getting the word out concerning PT service to the public.
I don't know your opinion on it but I am not for the concept of the 7 year DPT program. We can't get paid more for our masters, I don't get a shred more respect for my masters from bachelor P.T.s, so why push the DPT. I truly believe academia is a business and they are generating more business. My school dropped their 3 year masters and started their 3 year DPT. How different do you think these programs are? As far as the original poster- The reality is that if you work in a hospital you will likely start and end at pay that is below the RN staff. I imply no offense to nurses. 70K is about what you will make with overtime. 100k = you are blessed or a good business person with his or her own practice. Good luck.
One other suggestion. Leave NYC and L.A. I live in South Texas, the median salary is 23K, nice houses go for 150K, apartments rent for $500 and PT's make about 70K starting and upto 90K for staff with plenty of opportunities for overtime.
I have no idea how anyone can live on the coasts, particularly in jobs that compete nationwide like PT's. My friend lives in DC, the house he lived in went for 600K and it was just a small house, probably worth 100K here.