The spring semester is almost over, and that means a bevy of new graduates will soon be looking to enter the workforce. Getting your first “real” job out of college can seem like an intimidating process, but there are some things you can do along the way to help ensure your career in physical therapy gets off to a great start. In today’s blog, we shave five pieces of advice for new physical therapy graduates who are looking to launch their PT career.
Starting Your Career In Physical Therapy
Everyone has their own individual path for starting and fostering their career in physical therapy, but many people find that the process is a little easier if they follow a few helpful pieces of advice. Here’s a look at five tips for helping to launch your career as a physical therapist.
- Ask Yourself What You Want To Do – Before you start applying to any opening, ask yourself what kind of setting you see yourself working in. Do you think you’d like working in a hospital setting, a long-term care facility, doing home health or working in the sports field? You might not know exactly what you want, but you probably have an idea of which settings and patient populations might not be a good fit. Ask yourself which setting you see yourself working in, and start looking in that area.
- Network – We understand that it’s easier said than done to network with others, but it can be immensely helpful in a field like physical therapy. Odds are you’ve done some clinicals or internships prior to graduation, and that means you’re already off to a good start. Even if the place where you did your clinicals isn’t hiring, you’ve probably made connections with people who would be great references when applying for other positions. Reach out to them and see if they are willing to be a reference, and lean on any other connections you’ve made to get your foot in the door.
- Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone – You have more flexibility than more established physical therapists, so use that to your advantage to try to expand your reach and knowledge in the industry. If you’re not sure what you want to do or you haven’t landed that dream job just yet, consider a short-term position that helps you build your resume. A three-month travel position in another city or state could give you a wealth of experience and open new doors for your career, but you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
- Take In Just As Much As You Share – Whether it’s in the interview process or when you’re working with your first set of patients at your new job, it’s always important to listen just as much if not more than you lead. Really listening during an interview can help you prepare for the kinds of questions who might field down the road, and it can help you better understand what hiring managers are looking for in a new hire. If you’re just starting a new job, you might feel equipped with a bunch of knowledge from school, but still make sure you are listening and taking in what your mentor or other physical therapists are saying. Odds are you’ll start by shadowing or by helping alongside a more tenured physical therapist, and this can really help you make a smooth transition into the workforce if you listen and follow their lead.
- Ask Questions – Finally, make sure you are asking plenty of questions along the way if you are unsure about specific procedures or the paperwork aspect of care. No two physical therapy sessions will ever be the same, but many places have standard protocols that they want followed, so make sure you are asking questions if you’re finding any specific aspect of their therapy program to be challenging or overwhelming. Instead of just hoping you’re doing the right thing, confirm it by asking questions to your co-workers and mentors.
For more tips for helping to launch your career in physical therapy, reach out to the experienced team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.