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Journey of a DPT Student

PT School and a Part-Time Job

Published November 21, 2011 4:22 PM by Lauren Rosso

Last week I interviewed for a part-time job at The Children's Institute here in Pittsburgh. The position is coordinator for an SCI wellness program offered during the evenings in the PT gyms at the institute. I would be supervising the participants who, free of charge, have access to the gym three times per week. They range in age from 13-25 and will follow an exercise protocol developed for them upon entering the program. I'll be there to supervise and offer assistance if needed.

At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to apply for the position. I couldn't decide if adding yet another commitment to my plate would be a responsible decision, but at the same time I knew that this would be a great experience. The upcoming spring semester is historically our hardest, so I know I might be spread a bit thin. I recognize that time management is going to be a key component, and I definitely have room to improve on that front. I ultimately accepted the position and will start in January.

I'm really excited about this opportunity for a number of reasons. First, I really miss working with the SCI population. I also think this will be a great way for me to get my foot in the door in Pittsburgh's neuro world. The support for this wellness program is coming from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and the therapists who applied for the funding have a lot of hopes for its growth in the future. It's exciting to be part of the program at its onset, and I know I'll be talking about it a lot more in upcoming posts.


I am a first year Physical Therapy student and I agree that adding the stress of part-time employment can be quite intimidating.  I actually began working with a local hospital as a Rehabilitation Technician in which I get to work alongside PT's, OT's, RT's, and even Speech Therapists.  Of course this particular job has been invaluable considering I have the opportunity to apply everything I learn in class into my practice at work.  I took on this responsibility at the very beginning of starting classes.  From my experience, I would definitely recommend a part-time job especially for the little bit of extra money and the time-management skills involved.  However, I would also say that it's not a bad idea to get through one or two semesters before taking a stab at it.

Michael January 26, 2012 12:46 PM
Greenville NC

Elizabeth-  the research position sounds like an amazing opportunity.  It's something I've been thinking about, but I just don't know if research is for me.  I ended up taking the part-time job.  (I actually just got in the door from there.)  A local children's center started a wellness program for their neuro-related patients who are done with PT, but still need to use adaptive equipment to be able to complete some of their exercises.  I'm basically just there as a coordinator to help people onto machines, schedule the clients, etc.  It's a really great opportunity and I'm happy I took it.  Even if I don't make a lot of money, I think the experience is going to be invaluable.  (And I'll get my foot in the door with some local organizations, which can't hurt.)

Good luck!  Let me know how the job goes.  

Lauren Rosso January 12, 2012 7:30 PM

I am in a DPT program currently and having a part time job while being in the program is something that I considered prior to starting the program. I remember being previously told that it was not at all recommended and would probably hinder my studies. However, several of my classmates hold part-time positions at some kind of job, whether it be PT related or not and they are still excelling in the program. The great thing about my program are the select number of paid graduate research assistantships available to 1st and 2nd year students. I was fortunate enough to get one of these positions and I consider it a great opportunity. First, it is a financial help, but it also provides great exposure to research and to the field of physical therapy, similar to your job. I realize that DPT programs are difficult and certain students need to eliminate many outside distractions in order to maximize success, but I believe that the value of a part time job has the tendency to be overlooked. Learning how to manage your time is a huge key to success and taking on a job that will expose and educate you about your future field can be nothing but beneficial.  

Elizabeth January 12, 2012 6:14 PM
Greenville NC

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